A resident of Salida, Colorado was awoken by ‘a loud noise’ the night before Suzanne Morphew was reported missing.
Suzanne, 49, has not been seen since she reportedly set off on a solo bike ride on Mother’s Day, May 10 – although no eyewitnesses have reported seeing her out on the bicycle.
Mary Branson lives next door to a home being built by Suzanne’s husband, Barry Morphew, and says she shot out of bed when she heard a strange sound coming from the construction site late on May 9.
‘At the very first I thought it was a truck or something maybe parked in my driveway or something, but no, it kept running,’ Branson told Fox 21 on Friday.
The alarmed neighbor said the noise sounded like machinery or construction equipment and lasted ‘for about half an hour’.
Branson recalled: ‘I sat up in bed and said, “What’s going on, this time of night? That’s ridiculous.'”
The following day Branson went over to the construction site and asked workers whether they had left keys in their equipment. They told her that, whilst they often left keys on-site, they hid them in safe places.
That same day, Suzanne was reported as missing after her two adult daughters, Mallory and Macy, failed to get in touch with her.
On the day Suzanne vanished, husband Barry Morphew was reportedly in Denver at a training course for his job as a volunteer firefighter.
Barry Morphew has been keeping a low profile after announcing a $100,000 reward for his wife’s safe return a short time after she disappeared. That figure was later doubled by a family friend. The $200,000 reward still remains on offer.
Suzanne’s disappearance sparked an extensive search that included tracking dogs, water rescue teams and tactical mountain rescuers. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the FBI were also called in.
On May 21, the FBI commenced a three day search of the construction site next to Mary Branson’s home. The site is located about 12 miles from Suzanne and Barry’s home in the neighboring town of Maysville.
Banson says she was quizzed by police, and she told them of the loud sounds she heard on the night of May 9.
Detectives dug around the property and tore up concrete in the garage, but were unable to yield any clues as to Suzanne’s whereabouts.
On May 17, a week after her disappearance, Barry released a video pleading with the public to help find his missing wife.
‘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,’ Morphew stated in the video.
‘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.’
Two weeks after her disappearance, police took custody of the $1.5 million Morphew residence to carry out a search.
Cops were seen carrying evidence bags and equipment into the home.
A CSI photographer was spotted on the premises, and evidence bags were pictured being brought out and loaded into a van before the house handed it back to the family on May 28.
A second search was conducted earlier this month, but police did not say whether or not they had obtained anything of interest.
Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said earlier this month that a dozen detecives are still working around the clock.
‘The case remains very active, as more than a dozen investigators are aggressively working this case on a daily basis.
‘And until we determine what happened to Suzanne, we can’t discount any scenario or formally eliminate anyone from suspicion.’