THE strange note Barry Morphew left at a store after his wife Suzanne vanished shortly after her birthday last May has been noted among the bizarre events surrounding her disappearance.
The year-long investigation into the missing mom-of-two hit a long-awaited milestone this week after Barry was arrested as cops continue to hunt for her body.
Read our Suzanne Morphew live blog for the latest updates on the missing mother...
Suzanne had just celebrated her 49th birthday days before she went missing on May 10, 2020, from the $1.7million Colorado mansion she shared with her husband and their two adult daughters.
She had allegedly gone for a bike ride and never returned with a neighbor raising the alarm after Mallory and Macy Morphew were unable to contact her on returning from a camping trip to Idaho.
Husband Barry had allegedly been in Denver, 140 miles away, and stayed in a hotel there the night before as he prepared for a landscaping job.
At around 5.46pm that day, Mother’s Day, the Chaffee County Communications Center received a report of a missing woman in the area on County Road 225 and West Highway 50.
A search immediately began with drones and scent-tracking dogs used to try to track the former teacher down.
Barry initially claimed that Suzanne could have been the victim of an animal attack although dogs were not able to find a scent.
Suzanne’s bike was found at the end of a nearby hill with little damage.
On May 12, two days after Suzanne’s disappearance, the manager of Poncha Marker, a nearby store, said that Barry Morphew knocked on the window and handed her a note.
The brief and bizarre note, scribbled on a scrap of paper in black felt-tip pen, contained what he said was a description of Suzanne and asked the manager to keep an eye out for her.
The scrawl read: "Baby blue bike helmet. Bikers clothing."
It contained no physical description of his missing wife and he didn't leave any contact information.
"He could’ve written down a description of what he was wearing. I thought it was weird because he didn’t explain what color her eyes were, the color of her hair, how tall she was – anything," the store manager said.
By May 14, Barry announced that he believed his wife was abducted and offered a $100,000 reward, with a family friend offering another $100,000 on top of it.
Three days later, he posted a tearful video to Facebook in which he pleaded for Suzanne’s return.
"Oh Suzanne, if anyone is out there and can hear this, that has you, please, we’ll do whatever it takes to bring you back," he said.
"We love you, we miss you, your girls need you.
"No questions asked, however much they want – I will do whatever it takes to get you back. Honey, I love you, I want you back so bad," Barry added.
It came just two days after police announced on May 15 that they had discovered an item belonging to Suzanne nearby her home.
On the same day that Barry posted his video to Facebook, Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office ramped up the investigation as water sites were searched and residents were asked to keep any camera footage they may have between May 8 and May 12.
It wasn’t until May 19, nine days after Suzanne was first reported missing, that the Colorado Bureau of Investigations confirmed the Morphews’ house was being searched.
Pictures from the scene showed evidence bags being taken out but the search warrant was sealed by the court.
Three days later, on May 22, a search on a second property began.
The search on the riverfront Salida property, 12 miles from the Morphew home, took three days.
A concrete slab on the site was dug up but reportedly did not yield any further leads on Suzanne's disappearance.
On the first day of the search, the sheriff’s office was forced to deny rumors circulating online that Suzanne had been found or any arrests made.
The sheriff’s office said the property owner was not tied to the investigation but that Barry Morphew had previously carried out landscaping work there.
The search of this property ended again on May 24 as authorities said they “were unable to make any connection to Suzanne Morphew’s case at this time."
The case remained quiet for weeks before cops returned to search the Morphew home on July 9, as neighbors began calling for answers about the disappearance.
“I’ve lived here 31 years now and, no, we’ve had river accidents, but nothing like this,” Mary Branson told Fox 21 as others called for more information from law enforcement.
Suzanne’s family had also remained quiet on the disappearance until Barry spoke out again after three months on August 11.
“People don’t know the truth, so they’re gonna think what they’re gonna think,” he said, as he again pushed his theory that she had been attacked by an animal or had a run-in with someone she knew.
However, by the end of the month, Suzanne’s brother Andrew Moorman was calling for volunteers as he mounted his own independent search funded by an online donation page and accused his brother-in-law of being involved.
Three days later, further details emerged of the weekend that Suzanne disappeared.
Two employees of Barry’s claimed to have entered the hotel room he used in Denver on the Sunday she was reported missing and found it smelling strongly of bleach and covered in wet towels.
“The bed hadn’t been slept in or laid in or nothing, it was just kind of laid on or something,” Jeff Puckett said.
“Maybe he got in, took a shower, and then that was it – just washed up and left.”
“That has nothing to do with Suzanne missing,” Barry told Fox 21 of Jeff Puckett’s claims.
Despite the silence from the sheriff’s office on any updates, the search for Suzanne had continued, with her brother’s search also launching on September 24 with hundreds of volunteers.
On September 28, it was reported that evidence had been found near the Morphew’s home as the Daily Mail reported that the FBI had been called to a plot of land owned by the family when cadaver dogs picked up a scent.
The FBI was expected to dig up the area and conducted a search.
Private dive teams arrived in the area for a search on October 6 but no other updates were given on the case until Barry was arrested this week.
The sheriff’s office had claimed that “to preserve the integrity of this investigation, we cannot reveal all we have learned nor all that we are doing,” as it thanked the community.
As the search was ongoing, Barry Morphew had put the family home up for sale on October 6.
He claimed that his daughters were scared of staying in a place where he believed their mother to have been abducted.
It was sold just days before his arrest.
Barry Morphew was arrested on Wednesday at 9.15am while reportedly at one of his worksites and taken into custody without incident.
He made his first court appearance on Thursday as he was read his charges of first-degree murder, tampering with evidence, and attempting to influence a public servant in his wife's disappearance.
He was held without bail as his daughters cried and mouthed “I love you.”
The arrest warrant remains sealed but the District Attorney announced in a press conference on Wednesday that she is "confident" in the murder case even without Suzanne's body.
Barry and Suzanne Morphew tied the knot in 1994 after she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Friends said that Suzanne, who is originally from Indiana, had just overcome cancer and was starting her new life before her disappearance.
Fox 21 reports that she had overcome Hodgkin's Lymphoma twice: once before her children were born and again after the Morphew family moved to Colorado in 2018.
She had her last cancer treatment on October 1, 2019, half a year before her disappearance.
"She was not here long enough to make many friends," Deetta Wilson told The Denver Channel.
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"But she has made a lot since she disappeared. They had a few friends and stuff — their church friends. Other than that, they didn’t have much outside of that."
"I didn’t even want to — for the first three months — think that he did it," Wilson added.
"The more we got into this, I kinda leaned that way."