All charges against Barry Morphew were dropped just days before the start of his murder trial as investigators believe they are close to finding the body of his missing wife Suzanne.
Fremont County Judge Ramsey Lama dismissed the charges against Morphew Tuesday morning after prosecutors filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the charges without prejudice.
Dismissal without prejudice means that the charges can still be re-filed at a later date.
Prosecutor Linda Stanley said in the petition that investigators believe they are close to finding Ms. Morphew in a “remote and mountainous” region near the family home where she was last seen alive nearly two years ago.
The mother of two disappeared without a trace on Mother’s Day 2020 after she allegedly left the home she shared with her husband in Chaffee County, Colorado for a bike ride.
Morphew told police he left his wife at his home that morning to travel for construction work.
The 49-year-old has never been seen or heard from since. She is presumed dead, but her body was never found.
Morphew, her husband and father of her two daughters, was arrested and charged with her murder in May 2021 – almost exactly a year after his wife’s disappearance.
In addition to first-degree murder, he was also charged with tampering with a human body, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a dangerous weapon and attempting to influence a public official.
The murder trial was scheduled to begin on April 28.
According to the prosecutor’s motion filed on Tuesday, investigators “for some time” have focused their search for the missing mother in “a single location.”
However, the search is being hampered by extreme weather and snow.
If Morphew’s remains are found at the scene, it could provide crucial evidence to support or disprove the murder charges against her husband.
“In typical homicide cases, the fact of the victim’s death is rarely in question, but in a case like this, the most influential fact of consequence is whether Ms. Morphew is dead or not,” the motion reads.
“If the body proves to be there, an additional forensic examination could potentially indict or acquit the defendant, which is incredibly important evidence for the jury to hear to determine the merits of the case.”
In the lawsuit, prosecutors also argued that the court had excluded their “best evidence” from being presented at trial.
Earlier this month, the judge ruled that 12 of the prosecution’s 14 experts could not testify in Morphew’s trial and that data such as GPS location data, cellphone and truck data could not be presented to the jury either.
Without that evidence – and without Ms. Morphew – they can’t move forward “in good faith,” according to Tuesday’s court filing.
Prosecutors said they spoke with Morphew’s brothers, who agreed to the dismissal motion at this point.
They did not speak to the couple’s two daughters “for obvious reasons,” the document said.
Morphew was seen arriving at court Tuesday morning with his two daughters, who continue to support their father as he has long insisted he is innocent of any connection to his wife’s death.
While the couple’s children – who are now adults – are supporting their father, the other members of Morphew’s family have long voiced their suspicions about his sudden disappearance and her husband’s actions.
Days after Morphew’s disappearance, Morphew posted a video message online where he cried and begged his wife to come home, while offering a reward for her safe return.