CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Investigators are still searching for clues in the disappearance of Suzanne Morphew in Chaffee County. The 49-year-old has been missing since Sunday.
On Friday, nearly 90 investigators searched a 2.5 mile area near County Road 225 and Highway 50 in Maysville, west of Poncha Springs. Highway 50 over Monarch Pass was temporarily closed for the search.
Local, state and federal investigators crossed steep terrain in an effort to locate additional items of Morphew after investigators believe they found a personal item of the missing woman on Thursday.
Investigators spoke with a neighbor who said Morphew, reportedly went on a bike ride and never came home. Family has said her husband was out of town at the time.
“It’s, it’s the hardest thing,” her nephew, Trevor Noel, told CBS4. “She’s a beloved member of her family and the sweetest person that you’ve ever met.”
Noel said Morphew’s bike was located, but Morphew was nowhere to be found. Sheriff John Spezze has told CBS4 it was “probably not” animals.
Noel urged people to question the sheriff about the condition of the bike. When asked about the bike Friday, Sheriff Spezze said he would not comment on the items found.
Spezze said the case is still considered a missing persons investigation and they still have hope that Morfew will be found alive. He added that Morfew’s husband has been cooperative with the investigation.
“We’re certainly hopeful that she is (alive). Obviously as time goes by that gives us concern, but we’re searching as though she’s alive and we do believe she could still be alive,” Spezze said.
Morphew’s husband, Barry, pledged a $100,000 reward for information that leads to finding her. That was matched by a family friend, bringing the reward to $200,000.
Crews are using drones and search dogs to try and locate Morphew. Members from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the South Ark Swiftwater Rescue Teams have also searched nearby watersheds. Authorities are not asking for help from volunteers in the search.
“It’s really tough physically. It’s taxing up and down these hills. And it’s emotionally draining you know being with the family and still being empty handed,” Noel told CBS4. “We want to leave our options open and we want to make sure that we cover every hill… and know that everyone out here is doing everything they possibly can to find her.”
Noel and other family members and friends are working to put out as much information social media as possible. They are focused on sharing word with a Facebook page entitled “Find Suzanne Morphew.”
The family also has a Go Fund Me page set up to help with their efforts in supporting family and sustaining volunteers.
Anyone with information about Morphew is asked to call the tip line at (719) 312-7530.