Barry Morphew key witness dies after claiming his hotel room ‘smelled like chlorine’ after missing wife’s disappearance #Barry #Morphew #key #witness #dies #claiming #hotel #room #smelled #chlorine #missing #wifes #disappearance #englishheadline


A KEY witness in the prosecution’s since-withdrawn murder case against Barry Morphew died suddenly two months ago, The U.S. Sun can reveal.

Jeffrey Puckett – an employee of Barry’s who was at a hotel with him when his wife Suzanne Morphew was first reported missing on Mother’s Day 2020 – passed away aged 52 on March 16, in Salida, Colorado.

Jeffrey Puckett died suddenly aged 52 on March 16, in Salida, Colorado


Jeffrey Puckett died suddenly aged 52 on March 16, in Salida, ColoradoCredit:
A coroner's report listed his cause of death as an overdose of methamphetamine


A coroner’s report listed his cause of death as an overdose of methamphetamineCredit: El Paso County Coroner
Puckett was working a job with Barry (left) on the day Suzanne Morphew (right) was reported missing


Puckett was working a job with Barry (left) on the day Suzanne Morphew (right) was reported missingCredit: Facebook Suzanne Morphew

According to a coroner’s report obtained by The U.S. Sun, Puckett died from an accidental overdose of methamphetamine.

He was discovered lifeless in a room at the Sinawav Trail Lodge, a budget hotel, at 2.50pm and measures to save his life were unsuccessful. He was officially pronounced dead at 4.45pm.

Puckett’s death was also confirmed by his brother, Nickolus Puckett, in an emotional post uploaded to Facebook that same day.

“I’m sorry to inform everyone that my oldest brother Jeffrey Puckett, has passed away,” wrote the younger Puckett, above a childhood family photo.

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“My hope is that I will see him in heaven one day with Sandy and Dad.

“He was my hero and I will never forget him.”

Jeffrey Puckett was a construction worker who was hired by Barry Morphew to work a landscaping job on May 10, Mother’s Day 2020, in Broomfield, Colorado.

That same day, Barry’s wife Suzanne, 49, was reported missing to police more than 150 miles away by a neighbor.

It was initially believed Suzanne had left home for a bike ride but never returned. Evidence would later emerge suggesting she may have been killed the day prior, investigators said.

In the aftermath of Suzanne’s disappearance, Puckett spoke to local media, recounting how he arrived at a motel paid for by Morphew on May 10 and described smelling a strong scent of chlorine.

“I thought the pool might have been open, but it wasn’t,” Puckett told Fox 21.

He said it appeared as though Barry had taken a shower and there were towels all over the floor.

A manager for the motel – a Holiday Inn Express – confirmed that the pool was closed and that housekeeping staff do not use chlorine to clean the rooms.

Puckett also said he found a letter, addressed to Barry, in a trash can inside the room.

The letter concerned property insurance and he turned it over to investigators, he said.

“My first thought was, ‘alibi’,” he told the network. “When I found the mail the next morning, [it] just kinda looked like an alibi.”

Surveillance cameras captured Barry arriving at the hotel on May 10 carrying several bags of trash and other items – including clothing – inside.

It remains unclear what the bags contained.


Puckett’s account was corroborated by another employee of Morphew’s, Morgan Gentile, who said: “We opened the door and I mean, like, the chlorine hit you and you’re, like, my eyes started watering and burning.

“And, like, the towels were like super wet on the floor, and it looked like he had, like, made the bed before he left.”

She also claimed to the network that Barry’s behavior that weekend had been strange.

Morgan was hired to work for Barry on a different project off Country Road 105, east of Salida, on May 8 and May 9.

“Barry had worked on the beach site Friday evening [May 8, 2020],” Gentile told the network.

“Saturday, he had asked me to clean it up and rake it out, because we were going to bring it out to level – so it would be a beach sand and not muck.

“He was acting really weird […] He seemed stressed. He definitely seemed weird on Saturday.” 

Puckett reported smelling chlorine in Morphew's motel room


Puckett reported smelling chlorine in Morphew’s motel room
His death was confirmed by his brother in a post on Facebook


His death was confirmed by his brother in a post on Facebook
Barry was seen carrying bags of trash and other items into the hotel on May 10


Barry was seen carrying bags of trash and other items into the hotel on May 10Credit: Chaffee County Court
Suzanne would be reported missing the same day


Suzanne would be reported missing the same dayCredit: Facebook

Morgan said to Fox 21 that she had agreed to work in the area for the rest of the day but was dismissed from the job early at 11am on May 9.

Barry apparently told her his reasoning for quitting early was so that he could “make his wife happy” by doing some “hiking or biking” with her.

But Barry ended up spending the remainder of the afternoon shopping around town by himself.

The following day, Morgan traveled to Broomfield for the landscaping job – constructing a retaining wall – that had originally been arranged for April.

Barry initially pushed the project to the first of May, then changed it again to the weekend of May 10, she claimed.

“Last minute he changed everything. In fact, he called me that Sunday – Mother’s Day – and was really frantic, really didn’t sound like himself,” Gentile said.

“I hung up the phone and I thought he just had the worst night of his life.”

Regardless, Gentile agreed to pick up Puckett and head over to Broomfield on Sunday evening.

At around 6.10pm, she received a call from Barry who she claimed told her he’d been in Broomfield all day, getting the job ready for them.

By the time they arrived, Barry had left the motel. He told them there had been a “family emergency” and that he’d left the tools they’d need behind at the hotel.

Both Puckett and Gentile claimed no tools were left behind by Barry and they were told to wait around for two days – never actually visiting the job site.

Gentile received a call from a distraught Barry on Monday morning, who apparently told her, “Suzanne has gotten attacked, or a mountain lion has got her.”

He told the crew to wait for a delivery of bricks but the materials never arrived.

She didn’t want to pester Barry at the time, she added, so they waited before driving back to Salida on Tuesday.


By this time, a frantic search was already in full swing for Suzanne.

It was her daughters who first raised the alarm over concerns for her welfare when one of the girls – who were both away on a church camping trip at the time – texted to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day but never received a reply.

They contacted Barry, who contacted one of their neighbors and asked them to check to see if Suzanne’s mountain bike was still inside the home.

With the bike nowhere to be seen, Barry told the neighbor to call 911 and slowly made his way back to Salida.

Police used drones and scent-tracking dogs to try and track the former teacher down.

Although Barry quickly touted the theory Suzanne was attacked by an animal, K-9s were unable to pick up a scent.

Suzanne’s bike was found at the end of a nearby hill with little damage. Her helmet was later found at the side of a highway.

The Morphews lived in a $1.7million mansion in Maysville, near Salida


The Morphews lived in a $1.7million mansion in Maysville, near SalidaCredit: John Chapple for The US Sun
The small city of Salida is located roughly 150 miles away from Denver, in Colorado


The small city of Salida is located roughly 150 miles away from Denver, in ColoradoCredit: John Chapple for The US Sun
Few reminders of Suzanne's existence remain in Salida, save for a small memorial where her bike was found


Few reminders of Suzanne’s existence remain in Salida, save for a small memorial where her bike was foundCredit: John Chapple for The US Sun
Suzanne Morphew disappeared days after her celebrating her 49th birthday


Suzanne Morphew disappeared days after her celebrating her 49th birthdayCredit: Refer to Caption

No clothing, blood, or evidence of a struggle was found near the bike or helmet.

Her sunglasses and hydration backpack had previously been found inside her car, leading investigators to surmise the scene may have been staged and that Suzanne never really went for a bike ride on the morning she vanished.

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.

“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.


Months would pass without answers.

Then Barry was arrested in May 2022, just days before the second anniversary of Suzanne’s vanishing.

In the days and months preceding her disappearance, prosecutors said messages recovered from Suzanne’s mobile data indicated that she had been planning to leave Barry, and had complained of his controlling and – at times – allegedly abusive behavior.

She had also been having an affair with an old high school boyfriend, Jeff Libler, for a period of several months – something they believe Barry had been suspicious of for some time.

It was Libler who received one of Suzanne’s final correspondences: a bikini selfie she took in the garden of her home on May 9 just after 2pm.

According to court documents, data from Barry Morphew’s cellphone and digital forensics information from his truck showed his cell phone moving around the house on Saturday, May 9 – the same day investigators believe that Suzanne was killed.

When asked about the movements, Morphew allegedly told investigators that he had been shooting chipmunks.

Prosecutors shared additional cellphone data appearing to show that Morphew had switched his phone to airplane mode for several hours that day.

The next day, when Suzanne was reported missing, Morphew checked into the hotel in Broomfield and was seen bringing bags of items into his room.

According to court documents, Morphew told FBI agents on April 22, 2021, that he “looks guilty from the evidence,” while suggesting that his wife’s murder “was a form of God’s judgment” for her alleged affair with Libler.

The charges Barry Morphew faced were later dropped during a pre-trial hearing almost exactly a year later on April 19, 2022.

Fremont County District Judge Ramsey Lama granted the prosecution’s motion to dismiss the case without prejudice while they continue to search for Suzanne’s body.

“Without this crucial evidence, and without the victim’s body, the People cannot move forward at this time in good faith,” prosecutors wrote.


Last week marked three years since Suzanne vanished.

Her body has still not been found but law enforcement told The U.S. Sun the case remains active and ongoing.

A source close to Barry reiterated his claims of innocence and said he remains completely “broken” by her disappearance.

“He’s holding onto hope that she will be found but he also knows that while law enforcement has the means to do that, they aren’t doing it, they’re not searching for her,” said the source, a close friend who asked to remain anonymous.

“But at the same time, I’d say he’s broken. These last few years have broken him in a lot of ways.

“Barry is trying to rebuild his life […] he’s working but also taking time to spend with his daughters and heal together.

“But with the anniversary and everything else coming up, that brings all these emotions back up again – and still there’s no closure.

“That’s been very challenging, not knowing what happened to Suzanne, and we don’t know if we ever will.”

Barry is now suing prosecutors and other local officials for $15million over what he claims was his wrongful arrest.

Among other allegations, he accused prosecutors of fabricating and concealing evidence and violating his civil rights.

Friends of Suzanne’s, however, remain unconvinced by Barry’s protestations of innocence.

Tisha Leewaye, a local beautician, alleged: “Barry is 100% guilty.

“What else could’ve happened to her? Where’s the other explanation? Because she didn’t just leave.

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“He knows where he put her,” Tisha further alleged. “Or, I guess I should say he thinks that he knows they’re not going to find her.

“I personally think they will. They might find something tomorrow, it might be 30 years from now, but I think something’s going to come up eventually.”

Barry Morphew court with his daughters, Macy (right) and Mallory (left) in April 2022


Barry Morphew court with his daughters, Macy (right) and Mallory (left) in April 2022Credit: AP
Barry has denied any involvement in his wife's death


Barry has denied any involvement in his wife’s deathCredit: Facebook Suzanne Morphew

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