Autopsy Sheds Light on Suzanne Morphew’s Mysterious Death

Chaffee County Sheriff's Office
Chaffee County Sheriff's Office

Suzanne Morphew, the Colorado mom who went missing during a bike ride in 2020, was killed while under the influence of a powerful animal tranquilizer, a recently released autopsy found.

Morphew’s death was ruled “homicide by undetermined means in the setting of butorphanol, azaperone, and medetomidine intoxication,” the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said in a release Monday. Butorphanol, azaperone, and medetomidine—also known as BAM—is an animal tranquilizer that can be used to sedate bears and deer, according to veterinary pharmaceuticals manufacturer NexGen and a study by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division.

Authorities are still investigating the circumstances around Morphew’s death and disappearance. Her husband, Barry Morphew, was charged nearly a year later with her murder, which prosecutors alleged he’d done after he discovered she was having an affair. They claimed he’d shot her with a tranquilizer gun—which he’d admitted to using to sedate deer and remove their antlers—and tampered with evidence to cover up the crime.

But the charges against Barry Morphew were ultimately dropped in April 2022, with prosecutors opting to wait for the discovery of Suzanne’s remains. No one has been charged since her remains were found in September, and it’s unclear if the autopsy will lead to a new arrest.

In a statement released by Barry Morphew’s lawyers, the family implored law enforcement to “remove their blinders” and locate and arrest the person who murdered Suzanne.

“Despite the fact that unknown male DNA was found in Suzanne’s car, where her bike was parked, on her bike grips, handlebars, and bike seat, the authorities will not tell the Morphew family whether Suzanne’s bike clothes, collected seven months ago with her remains, have been tested for DNA,” their statement reads. “DNA left on her clothing by the murderer could bring justice for Suzanne, her family and the community.”

Investigators have previously said that that DNA matches partial DNA profiles in unsolved sexual assault cases in Illinois and Arizona.

“The family is quite skeptical about the integrity of this investigation as the very same investigators that concealed the unknown male DNA continue to be involved in this investigation and were present at the autopsy of Suzanne Morphew,” Morphew’s lawyers said.

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