(NEW YORK) — It’s been just over three years since Suzanne Morphew vanished on Mother’s Day. Now, her husband and their two daughters are speaking out for the first time since filing a $15 million lawsuit claiming he was wrongfully charged in her alleged death.
“It’s very hurtful to lose your reputation and your integrity,” husband Barry Morphew told ABC News in an exclusive interview that aired Monday on Good Morning America.
Suzanne Morphew, 49 at the time, was reported missing in Colorado’s Chaffee County after she went for a bike ride and never returned home on May 10, 2020. She has never been found and is presumed dead, according to the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office.
Barry Morphew, 55, was arrested almost a year later on charges including first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in connection with his wife’s disappearance. But all charges against Barry Morphew were dropped in April 2022, just days before he was set to stand trial.
The move came after the judge presiding over the case barred prosecutors from using most of their key witnesses at trial as punishment for repeatedly failing to turn over evidence in the defendant’s favor. Prosecutors also said at the time that they believed authorities were close to finding Suzanne Morphew’s body, which would be “the most influential fact of consequence.” Examining Suzanne Morphew’s body could either incriminate or exculpate her husband, prosecutors said.
The case was dismissed without prejudice, which allows prosecutors to file charges against Barry Morphew again. He is still considered a suspect and authorities told ABC News they aren’t ruling out future charges.
When asked whether he has anything to do with his wife’s disappearance, Barry Morphew told ABC News: “Absolutely not.”
“They’ve 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,” he added. “I don’t have anything to worry about. I’ve done nothing wrong.”
The couple’s daughters, Mallory and Macy Morphew, told ABC News that the last three years have been “literally our worst nightmare.” But they are standing by their father.
“I’ve never had a shred of doubt,” Macy Morphew said.
“Not one,” Mallory Morphew added.
Both daughters said there was no indication before their mother vanished that something was amiss and that they never observed any concerning disagreements between their parents.
However, text messages obtained by prosecutors and shared with ABC News appear to show a strained marriage, with Suzanne Morphew referring to her husband as “Jekyl and Hyde” and telling him “I’m done” just before she was reported missing. In another text message, Suzanne Morphew confided in a friend, writing: “Macy and I had a very tough talk yesterday … She’s weary of the tension here. She knows how he is toward me and almost begged me to divorce him … He’s still pulling Mal in.”
Barry Morphew denied their marriage was in trouble.
“We had a wonderful life, a wonderful marriage,” he told ABC News. “She was just so loving and giving, and such a good mother.”
He said his wife had been having cancer treatments in the years prior to her disappearance.
“I know she was going through some hard things and made some bad decisions,” he added. “She was really having trouble with the chemotherapy and the drugs.”
Suzanne Morphew had also been having an affair with another man for about two years, according to authorities. Barry Morphew said he “didn’t believe it” at first when he found out.
“My heart was broken,” he tearfully told ABC News.
Earlier this month, Barry Morphew filed a $15 million federal civil rights civil lawsuit against prosecutors, the sheriff and several investigators, claiming that his life has been ruined by false accusations. His defense attorneys, Jane Fisher-Byrialsen and Iris Eytan, said they “know he’s innocent.”
“I know that $15 million is a huge number but I don’t think that, in my mind, that covers any of the damage that’s happened to Barry and the girls,” Fisher-Byrialsen told ABC News.
“If they would just look for Suzanne outside of where they hypothesized Barry could’ve possibly buried her remains, they could find her,” Eytan added.
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