A Colorado man who had been previously charged in the 2020 disappearance and presumed death of his wife says authorities never looked at anyone but him for the crime.
Barry Morphew, whose wife Suzanne Morphew disappeared around Mother’s Day three years ago, told ABC News in an interview that police had “tunnel vision” regarding him.
“They’re wrong. They got tunnel vision, and they looked at one person, and they’ve got too much pride to say they’re wrong and look somewhere else,” Morphew told the outlet in an interview that aired Monday.
Morphew was asked if he had anything to do with his wife’s disappearance, to which he replied: “Absolutely not. It’s very hurtful to lose your reputation and your integrity.”
Morphew was arrested in May 2021 and charged with murder, tampering with a deceased human body, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a dangerous weapon and attempt to influence a public official. The charges against him were dismissed without prejudice last year, meaning authorities can charge him again in the future.
“I was innocent the first time they arrested me, so I’m sure it’s possible” that he could be arrested again, Morphew told ABC. “But I don’t have anything to worry about. I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Earlier this month, Morphew filed a $15 million lawsuit against Chaffee County, prosecutors, and employees of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the FBI for their role in his arrest, 9News reported.
Suzanne’s body has never been found.
In a ruling last April, District Court Judge Ramsey Lama of the 11th Judicial District noted that some circumstantial evidence appears to implicate Morphew, but DNA evidence excludes him as a source of DNA found at the crime scene.
“In the summer of 2020, [Colorado Bureau of Investigation] CBI forensic analysis determined foreign unknown male DNA was found on various items of the crime scene: the interior cushion of the bike helmet, Mrs. Morphew’s bike, the glovebox and back seat of Mrs. Morphew’s Range Rover. Mr. Morphew, along with other investigative personnel working the scene, were excluded as the source of the sample,” Lama wrote.
CBI agent Joseph Cahill believed the DNA “belonged to suspects who may have perpetrated the crime,” the judge wrote.
“[T]he unknown male DNA partially matched DNA found in three out-of-state unsolved sexual assault investigations: Tempe, Phoenix, and Chicago,” Lama noted, before adding that “due to the limited genetic profile, this was only a lead and further investigation was necessary.”
This DNA profile created tension between the CBI and local sheriff’s office, Lama wrote in his ruling. CBI agents Cahill and Derek Graham didn’t believe Barry should be arrested until further forensic testing was conducted and more evidence was collected.
“They both believed the arrest was premature and raised their concerns with Kirby Lewis, head of the Major Crimes Division of CBI who, in turn, brought those concerns to Deputy Director Chris Schaeffer. Mr. Schaeffer called the Chaffee County Sheriff, John Spezze, and advised against arresting Mr. Morphew at that time. He expressed the concerns of Agents Cahill and Graham. It was the first time in the Deputy Director’s career that he ever called a sheriff about holding off on the decision to arrest an individual. Shortly, thereafter, CBI Director John Camper, called the Sheriff and reiterated the Bureau’s concerns with arresting Barry Morphew,” Lama wrote.
But Chaffee County Sheriff’s Commander Alex Walker wrote a 129-page affidavit in support of arresting Barry. This affidavit, Lama wrote, “failed to inform the judge of said DNA and that Barry Morphew was excluded as the source.” This was because Walker didn’t know about the DNA match until 12 days after he wrote the affidavit.