All charges against Barry Morphew were dropped just days before his murder trial was to begin, 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 the charges can still be filed again at a later date.
Prosecutor Linda Stanley said in the motion that investigators believe they are close to finding Ms. Morphew’s body 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 reportedly left the home she shared with her husband in Chaffee County, Colorado for a bike ride.
Morphew told police that he dropped his wife off at their house that morning to travel to a construction job.
The 49-year-old has never been seen or heard from since. Presumed dead, but his body has never been 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 disappeared.
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 servant.
The murder trial was scheduled to begin on April 28.
According to the prosecution’s motion filed Tuesday, investigators “for some time” have focused their search for the missing mother on “one location.”
However, the search is currently hampered by extreme weather and snowpack conditions.
If Mrs. Morphew’s remains are found at the scene, this could provide crucial evidence to support or refute the murder charges against her husband.
“In typical homicide cases, the fact of the victim’s death is rarely in dispute, but in a case like this, the most influential fact of consequence is whether or not Mrs. Morphew is deceased,” reads the motion.
“If the body is proven to be there, further forensic examination could either convict or exonerate the defendant, which is incredibly important evidence for the jury to hear when determining the merits of the case.”
In the filing, 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 expert witnesses could not testify at Morphew’s trial and that data, including GPS location data, cell phone and truck data, also could not be produced. to the jury.
Morphew was seen arriving at court on Tuesday morning with his two daughters.
He has long insisted he is innocent of any connection to his wife’s death and the couple’s children have supported their father.
But, the other members of Mrs. Morphew’s family have long aired their suspicions about her disappearance and her husband’s actions.
Days after Ms. Morphew’s disappearance, Mr. Morphew posted a video message online crying and pleading for his wife to come home, while offering a reward for her safe return.