Tuesday, 21 Sep 2021

Barry Morphew murder case: Husband made five “trash runs” on day wife went missing, FBI agent says

On the day Barry Morphew’s wife was reported missing, he spent the morning throwing away items in trash cans and large trash bins at five locations near Broomfield, hours away from his Chaffee County home, a retired FBI agent testified Tuesday.

Morphew, 53, is accused of killing his wife, 49-year-old Suzanne Morphew, who disappeared from the family’s home near Maysville on May 10, 2020. Her body and some of her personal items have not been found, despite an extensive yearlong search. Authorities charged her husband with murder in May 2021.

On Tuesday, retired FBI agent Jonathan Grusing testified in detail about data collected by Morphew’s truck and cell phone on May 9 and 10, 2020. Barry Morphew left his Chaffee County home early in the morning on May 10 and drove to Broomfield for a landscaping job, Grusing testified. That morning, Morphew appeared to make five “trash runs” at various spots in the Broomfield area, he said.

In the first run, Morphew stopped next to a trash can at an RTD bus station for about 90 seconds, and the passenger and driver’s doors on his truck opened, Grusing testified. He then went to a hotel, and before checking in, parked along the back next to a trash can, where the truck doors again opened and closed. He then left the hotel and threw items away at a McDonald’s restaurant, Grusing testified.

When confronted with a video showing that so-called “trash run,” at McDonald’s, Morphew at one point told investigators he was probably throwing way wrappers, and later said he couldn’t remember what he was throwing away, Grusing testified. After stopping at the restaurant, Morphew went to a dumpster near a Men’s Warehouse store, and spent 40 minutes in that parking lot, Grusing testified. Later that afternoon, Morphew placed a full trash bag, tree planter and a camouflage jacket in a dumpster near the hotel, Grusing said.

Grusing also testified that someone used Barry Morphew’s truck at 3:25 a.m. on the day his wife went missing. The truck’s driver and passenger doors opened around that time, he said. And about 3:51 a.m., Morphew’s cell phone appeared to move to the area where his wife’s abandoned bicycle was found, although Grusing testified that the data was inconclusive because of the poor cell coverage in the region. The last ping on Suzanne Morphew’s cell phone was at 4:23 a.m., Grusing testified. Her phone has not been found.

Morphew previously told investigators his wife was sleeping and he did not wake her around 5 a.m. when he left to go to Broomfield for the landscaping job. He also said he was at the job site when his neighbor called him at 5:15 p.m. that day to tell him Suzanne was missing, but surveillance video shows he was actually in his hotel room at that time, and spent very little time at the job site that day, Grusing testified.

Testimony will continue Tuesday afternoon in the second day of Morphew’s preliminary hearing, which is expected to last four days this month.

During the first day of testimony Monday, witnesses revealed that Suzanne Morphew carried on a nearly two-year long extramarital affair before she disappeared.

Two investigators on the case testified that the Morphew’s marriage was struggling, pointing to an argument they had about money and Suzanne’s texted conversations with a close friend, in which she said she would not feel safe alone with her husband and made plans to seek a divorce.

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