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Volunteers search remote areas of Chaffee County for woman missing since Mother's Day

Suzanne Morphew's brother leads search
Posted at 8:52 AM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 10:52:27-04

CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. -- Volunteers from across Colorado, and across the country, combed through remote areas of Chaffee County on Thursday in search of Suzanne Morphew.

The Maysville area mother of two has been missing since May 10.

Suzanne Morphew.jpg

The search was organized by Morphew's brother, Andrew Moorman, who traveled from Indiana to spearhead the effort.

On Thursday morning, he briefed about a hundred volunteers at the visitor's center in Poncha Springs before they split up into smaller groups.

Andrew Moorman briefing volunteers

One group focused on the Dead Horse Gulch area, off Ute Trail north of Salida.

Another focused on Monarch Pass, west of Maysville.

A third, which included Moorman, concentrated on the area near Puma Path, where his sister lived with her husband and two daughters.

READ MORE: All Denver7 coverage of Suzanne Morphew case

Moorman pointed out the pink ribbon at the bottom of a hill along County Road 225. He said that's where his sister's bicycle was found upside down, leaning against a tree.

Initial reports indicated that Morphew disappeared while on a bike ride, but Moorman said he doesn't believe that's what happened.

He said there was no indication that a victim was ever at the base of that hill. He said there was no blood, and no scent picked up by dogs.

When asked what he thought of the bicycle being found there, Moorman replied, "It was thrown over, or it was planted evidence."

Moorman and fellow searchers, many of them from Indiana, where Morphew grew up, then walked through some heavily wooded area nearby.

Wooded area

Four members of that group noticed what appeared to be recently overturned earth, so they started digging, but found no evidence of the missing woman.

Searchers digging.jpg

Another searcher spotted what appeared to be a tarp.

Moorman said he doesn't know if there is any connection to the case, but that investigators are looking into it.

While at the top of an outcropping, Moorman told Denver7 he was afraid of what he might find, and afraid of what he might not find.

"Not finding her would be the worst," he said. "The best I'll be able to get out of that is at least I gave it a damn big effort."

Among the searchers were two retired Denver police officers, Dan and Donna McNulty.

Dan & Donna McNulty

They said they couldn't always help search for missing people when they were working full time.

Now, they have more time.

"When someone needs help, it's up to all of us to kind of chip in and help," Donna said.

"I know the sheriff personally in Chaffee County," Dan said. "Anything we can do to help them, and help Andy and his family get through this — it's the least we can do."

Moorman said his goal is to find his sister sometime during the next four days and take her home to be buried next to their mother.

The search will resume at 8 a.m. Friday.

A candlelight vigil, in honor of Suzanne, will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Riverside Park in Salida.