ALEXANDRIA — In the nearly four months that have passed since Suzanne Moorman Morphew reportedly disappeared after setting out on a bike ride near the mountain town of Maysville, Colorado, investigators have asked her family members to be guarded in discussing the case.
Morphew’s older brother, Andy Moorman, has decided he’s been quiet long enough.
At a candlelight vigil Saturday in Morphew’s hometown of Alexandria, Moorman announced an effort to recruit more than 1,000 volunteers for a five-day expedition to scour the mountainous terrain near Maysville, about 150 miles southwest of Denver, where Morphew was last seen May 10.
“I’m here tonight not because I want to be, but because I have to be,” Moorman told a crowd of about 200 people gathered at Harrison Square in the center of town. “I’ve got to find my little sister, and I have to bring closure to my family. We were quiet for a while because the investigators asked that of us, but it’s time now to rally the troops and go west and find her.”
The disappearance of Morphew, 49, made national news, and the case has been featured on NBC’s “Dateline” and other news magazine shows.
Investigators with the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Department and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation have fielded hundreds of tips and conducted dozens of searches to no avail. No arrests have been made in the case.
“It’s been rough,” Moorman said. “We just can’t get any closure on this thing. The investigators don’t let loose of very much information. They protect a lot of it for investigative purposes, and that’s been rough.”
According to several news outlets, an initial $100,000 reward offered by Morphew’s husband Barry for her safe return was matched by a family friend, doubling the reward to $200,000.
“This case remains very active, as more than a dozen investigators are aggressively working this case on a daily basis,” Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said in a news release. “Until we determine what happened to Suzanne, we can’t discount any scenario or formally eliminate anyone from suspicion.”
Morphew is the daughter of Gene Moorman, the former owner of the popular Gene’s Root Beer drive-in restaurant on Scatterfield Road in Anderson.
Throughout the ordeal, friends of both families and schoolmates of Suzanne Morphew have stayed in contact with Moorman to offer words of encouragement and hope. Saturday’s vigil, they said, was meant to be a tangible demonstration of their support.
“Both of these families are broken,” said Lisa Patz, who helped organize the vigil. “They’re very broken. Neither family is doing very well. It’s a tragedy. This (vigil) is to bring light to Suzanne and everyone and anyone involved with these families, to let them just come and give us light for Suzanne. Let’s just find her.”