CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - Authorities have taken more than 400 calls to their tip line concerning a missing Colorado woman.
Suzanne Morphew was reported missing on Mother's Day 2020, photo courtesy Chaffee County Sheriff's Office. Background shows law enforcement blocking a road as they search a property near Salida tied to the case on May 22, 2020.
The Chaffee County Sheriff's office provided a brief update on the search for Suzanna Morphew on Tuesday. The public is asked to continue to report any information on the case by calling 719-312-7530. Authorities also announced the Morphew residence was released back to the family after it was "held" for several days.
Recently, the search efforts were focused on Salida after investigators spent three days at a site looking for Morphew.
"Investigators searched several locations on the property; however, they were unable to make any connection to Suzanne Morphew’s case at this time," the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office said in a news release Sunday evening.
Investigators from the sheriff's office, the FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation began combing the property off County Road 105 Friday as part of a follow-up on leads developed in the case. On the first day of the search, social media was buzzing with rumors that the woman had been located and an arrest had been made. Law enforcement later said those rumors were untrue.
"The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office relays that Ms. Morphew has not been located and there have been no arrests in the investigation," the CBI said in a release sent out on behalf of the sheriff's office.
Authorities said the property owner was fully cooperative with the investigation and was not connected with the case. No other details were released by law enforcement on the search, though sister station KCNC reports that at one point investigators were digging beneath a concrete slab.
Forty-nine-year-old Morphew was reported missing by a neighbor on Mother's Day after she went for a bike ride in the area of Chaffee County Road 225 and West Highway 50 and never came home. In the 15 days since, investigators have scoured the forest areas and local bodies of water. Morphew's bike was reportedly recovered the night she vanished, and the sheriff's office confirmed on the 15th that an undisclosed “personal item” belonging to Morphew was found just west of CR 225 and Highway 50. There have been no reports of anything else belonging to Morphew recovered.
Morphew is married with two daughters. Morphew's family has said her husband was out of town at the time of her disappearance. The family home was put under a law enforcement "hold," meaning no one is allowed in or out. A member of the sheriff's office said it is not unusual in an investigation like this to start investigating in the home and to extend outward. As mentioned earlier in this article, the hold was released on Tuesday.
Relatives told 11 News early in the investigation that they "were doing everything we can to bring her back."
"We've been out every day. Hours and hours covering hundreds and hundreds of miles ... we're walking every hillside every mountain every stream. Not leaving any rock unturned," nephew Trevor Noel told 11 News reporter Tony Keith on May 14.
Morphew's husband released a video one week after his wife went missing pleading for her safe return, which can be viewed just below this article. If reading this article on our app, click "Additional Content Available."
Authorities are asking residents in the area to preserve any and all video footage from devices such as Ring doorbells, security cameras, game cameras etc., from May 8 through May 12. As of last week, the sheriff's office was requesting the surveillance to only be preserved and not submitted unless requested. As search areas are identified, investigators will contact residents in those locations to collect any camera footage.
"One of the most helpful ways the community can aid in the search of Suzanne Morphew is by preserving these recordings. We are aware that some systems override video after several days, and we want to ensure video remains available if needed," Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said.
Spezze reiterated Sunday that someone out there may hold critical information on the investigation.
"Someone has that key piece of information in this case that will help us locate Suzanne, and I’m asking our community members to continue to use the tip line to provide any information, no matter how inconsequential the tip may seem."
That tip line is 719-312-7530. The public is asked not to call Chaffee County dispatch with questions.
The sheriff's office said there were no searches scheduled for Monday. That does not mean that the case isn't active.
"We will continue to follow-up on leads as they are identified and vetted by sheriff’s office investigators, the CBI and FBI," Spezze said.
To date, more than 100 people have assisted in the search, including personnel from Chaffee County Search and Rescue, Department of Corrections, the Chaffee County Combined Tac Team, 11th Judicial District, Colorado Bureau of Investigations, the Salida Police Department, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
As of the 24th, the sheriff's office was still calling the investigation a missing persons case. In an interview on the 15th, Spezze said law enforcement was still hoping Morphew would be found alive.
“Obviously as time goes by it gives us concern, but we are searching as though she’s still alive and we do believe she still could be alive,” he said.
Spezze said in the same news conference that searchers hadn't found anything to indicate an animal was involved, but the possibility hadn't been completely ruled out.
The sheriff said Morphew's husband had been "cooperative to this point, and we hope he continues to do so."
The family is offering a $200,000 reward for any information that leads to finding Morphew and her safe return. Morphew's husband pledged one half of the reward and a family friend pledged the other.