Suzanne Morphew’s daughter had ‘weird’ interaction with missing mom’s friend after disappearance

A FRIEND of Suzanne Morphew claims to have shared a strange interaction with one of the missing mom’s daughters months after her disappearance that continues to sit uneasily with her.

Tisha Leewaye, a beautician from Salida, Colorado, first became friendly with Suzanne Morphew in 2019, just over a year before the 49-year-old vanished without a trace on Mother’s Day 2020.

Tisha Leewaye, a friend of Suzanne's, continues to keep the missing mom-of-two's memory alive

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Tisha Leewaye, a friend of Suzanne’s, continues to keep the missing mom-of-two’s memory aliveCredit: John Chapple for The US Sun
Barry appeared on Good Morning America last week to protest his innocence

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Barry appeared on Good Morning America last week to protest his innocenceCredit: ABC
Suzanne Morphew has now been missing for three years

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Suzanne Morphew has now been missing for three yearsCredit: Facebook Suzanne Morphew

After Suzanne’s disappearance, it was Tisha who helped to mobilize volunteers and organize search parties in the vast wilderness surrounding the Morphew family’s $1.7million mansion in Maysville, where she was last known to be.

Tisha also acted as a voice for Suzanne and her family, speaking to local and national media to generate more attention on the case, organizing vigils, and even fundraising for a memorial bench that bears the hashtag, “#shinebrightforSuzanne.”

In the three years since, Tisha has hosted an annual “forget me not” event for Suzanne in the nearby Poncha Springs and every Christmas displays a tree with more than 200 ornaments in the center of town in tribute to her.

For every search and event she’s organized, Tisha said she has invited Suzanne’s daughters, Mallory and Macy, and Suzanne’s husband, Barry Morphew, to take part but none of the three has ever turned up.

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Confused, if a little dejected by the lack of engagement from Suzanne’s immediate family, speaking to The U.S. Sun on the anniversary of her disappearance, Tisha says she has only shared one direct interaction with the Morphew clan since Suzanne vanished: a “strange” conversation with the elder Morphew daughter, Mallory.

“In October of 2020, a young girl with a mask on came into the salon [where I was working at the time] and asked to do some tanning,” recounted Tisha.

“After the searches for Suzanne, we had put all the stuff we had up on display in the salon – missing posters, T-shirts, wristbands, and so on – because we wanted people to be aware of her and aware of the case when they came in because we didn’t want it to go cold.

“So one day this girl walked in, and I didn’t recognize her at first [because of the mask] or really pay much attention, but she walked in and looked straight at a picture of Suzanne and kind of welled-up a bit, and said: ‘That’s my mom.'”

Tisha said she asked the girl if she was Mallory, to which the girl apparently confirmed that she was before adding: “I’d like to tan.”

Seizing upon the moment, Tisha then started telling Mallory about all the various fundraisers and searches she’d organized for her mom over the last few months.

“We had never had any contact with them, they’d never shown up to anything, so I told that opportunity and just told her: ‘We are the ones who have done some stuff for your mom. We’re not trying to make you guys look bad, we’re just doing it because we want your mom to be found and for her not to be forgotten around town.’

“And she just said, ‘OK,’ and that was it. And that was weird to me, there was no thanks, appreciation, or acknowledgment – that was all she said.

“If strangers were doing things like this for my mom, I’d be more grateful.

“It was weird to me that she didn’t ask more questions […] it was just very, very weird.

“It was just so bizarre to me.”

‘DO THEY KNOW SOMETHING?’

The U.S. Sun’s efforts to reach Mallory Morphew were unsuccessful.

Tisha says that she has immense empathy for Mallory and Macy Morphew, adding: “I wouldn’t ever want to be in their position.”

The two girls have spoken publicly only twice since their mom vanished three years ago, with both appearances coming alongside their father to bolster his claims of innocence.

Barry, now 55, is the only person ever to have been publicly named as a suspect in the disappearance and presumed death of Suzanne, who police believe was murdered sometime between the afternoon of May 9 and the early morning hours of May 10, 2020.

He was arrested and charged with her murder in May 2021 but released a year later after prosecutors filed a successful motion to withdraw their case until they could locate Suzanne’s body.

Prosecutors insisted the motion was not an indication of Barry’s innocence and that he – to this day – remains the prime suspect.

But last week, he appeared on Good Morning America with Mallory and Macy to stress that investigators have “tunnel vision” and are zeroing in on the wrong guy.

The two girls, meanwhile, insisted they’ve “never had a shred of doubt” about their dad’s innocence and described the last three years as “literally our worst nightmare.”

“It’s really difficult, especially because of the lack of closure we have,” said Macy.

Tisha Leewaye shared what she called a strange encounter with one of the Morphew girls

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Tisha Leewaye shared what she called a strange encounter with one of the Morphew girlsCredit: John Chapple for The US Sun
Suzanne Morphew hasn't been seen since May 10, 2020. She's presumed dead

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Suzanne Morphew hasn’t been seen since May 10, 2020. She’s presumed deadCredit: Facebook
Barry Morphew, her husband, is the only person to be named as a suspect

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Barry Morphew, her husband, is the only person to be named as a suspectCredit: Facebook
Tisha is seen wearing a T-shirt bearing one of the last texts Suzanne sent to Barry

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Tisha is seen wearing a T-shirt bearing one of the last texts Suzanne sent to BarryCredit: John Chapple for The US Sun
Barry sold the Morphew family home in 2021, two months before his arrest

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Barry sold the Morphew family home in 2021, two months before his arrestCredit: John Chapple for The US Sun

Tisha said that she can understand the girls’ decision to stand by their father. However, she says she finds it strange they haven’t done more to publicly advocate for their mom or allegedly helped to look for her.

“You should never have to pick one or the other, but you should stand behind both of your parents,” said Tisha. “You should obviously stand behind your dad but you should obviously show up a little bit more for your mom also.

“The whole not attending vigils or helping with searches, you would think they would, because, like, why wouldn’t you miss your mother and want to find her? If it wasn’t for her, you wouldn’t be here.

“How can you move on with your life if your mom is still missing and you have no answers? It doesn’t make sense to me, how you can move on because your dad’s free but your mom is missing and you’ve done nothing.

“I think that if you lost a parent you’d still want answers.

“I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to them directly so I can’t elaborate.

“People grieve differently, but I know if it was me, I would use every avenue available to me to keep my mom’s memory alive.”

‘A VERY NICE WOMAN’

Tisha struck up a friendly relationship with Suzanne in early 2019 when the ex-teacher came into the salon, where she worked out the time with her two daughters to tan.

The last time she saw Suzanne was in January 2020 when she and the girls came in for a spray tan ahead of a family vacation to Mexico.

Nothing about the last encounter stands out to her now in hindsight, Tisha said, but she remembers Suzanne today as someone who was friendly but quiet.

“If she came in with Mallory, she would stand back and let Mallory take control or talk more than her, I guess, it was a different kind of situation, I guess.

“But she was always well kept together and carried herself very well.

“She was a very nice woman.”

Mallory and Macy Morphew were away on a church-organized camping trip when their mom was first reported missing.

It was the two girls who were first to raise the alarm that something may be amiss with their mom after they texted her to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day on the morning of May 10, 2020, but hadn’t received a response for several hours.

Barry Morphew was also out of town when he was contacted by his daughters, informing him they couldn’t get hold of their mother.

Barry contacted a neighbor to check on Suzanne. The neighbor then alerted the police when they discovered Suzanne was not home.

At first, it appeared as though Suzanne left home for a bike ride earlier that morning but had not come home.

Barry is pictured with his daughters after being released from jail

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Barry is pictured with his daughters after being released from jailCredit: AP
The Morphews lived in a remote area along a private road, a short drive from the town of Salida

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The Morphews lived in a remote area along a private road, a short drive from the town of SalidaCredit: John Chapple for The US Sun
A source close to Barry said he has been left broken over her death

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A source close to Barry said he has been left broken over her deathCredit: Facebook Suzanne Morphew
Barry remains a key suspect in the case, which is still actively being investigated

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Barry remains a key suspect in the case, which is still actively being investigatedCredit: AP

Her bike was later found down a steep embankment close to the home in a scene police believed to be staged.

Very few other physical clues were recovered in the case but police believe she was murdered sometime between the mid-afternoon of May 9 and early on May 10.

It later emerged that in the months preceding her disappearance, Suzanne was having an affair with an old high school boyfriend, Jeff Libler.

Messages recovered from her cellphone indicated that she was planning to leave Barry and had often confided in friends about his allegedly controlling and abusive behavior.

Barry has long denied any claims of abuse, insisting he and Suzanne shared a happy marriage. He also claims he was unaware of her affair until several months after her disappearance.

However, in one message to a friend, Suzanne likened Barry to “Jekyll and Hyde,” court records show.

In another message addressed to Barry on May 6, she wrote: “I’m done, I could care less what you’re up to have been for years. We just need to figure this out civilly.”

The theory shared by prosecutors at the time of his arrest was that Barry had discovered Suzanne’s affair with Libler, murdered her in a rage sometime between May 9 and May 10, and disposed of her remains before driving to Broomfield.

Barry was questioned by police over a series of months before he was arrested and charged with murder in May 2021.

The charges were later dropped by a judge without prejudice at the request of the prosecution.

‘HE’S GUILTY’

Then, earlier this month, Barry filed a $15million lawsuit against prosecutors, local police, and other officials, accusing them of violating his civil rights in relation to his 2021 arrest.

The complaint alleges that investigators lied and withheld and manufactured information to suit a hastily-drawn theory that Morphew murdered Suzanne in a fit of rage over the affair she was having with Libler.

It also alleges that the named officials “conspired to deprive” Morphew of his constitutional rights and later tried to “conceal the knowing and reckless misconduct and to protect one another from liability for depriving Barry Morphew of his constitutional rights.”

“As result of the Defendants’ conduct Barry was charged, arrested, and prosecuted, and his property seized, for a crime he did not commit,” reads the lawsuit. 

“As [a] result of the Defendants’ conduct, Barry spent five months in jail, approximately six more months wearing a GPS ankle monitor with severe restrictions on his movement, and almost a year defending against the criminal charges. To this date, Barry’s property remains in the CCSD’s possession.”

In a statement, Attorney Jane Byrialsen said: “Barry Morphew’s Constitutional Rights were trampled on, he and his daughters have suffered great harm, and we will not tolerate such abuses of power.”

Despite the lawsuit, Barry remains a prime suspect in the case.

And Leewaye says there’s no doubt in her mind that “Barry is 100% guilty.”

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

“I personally think they will [find her body eventually].

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

The small city of Salida continues to be rocked by Suzanne's disappearance

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The small city of Salida continues to be rocked by Suzanne’s disappearanceCredit: John Chapple for The US Sun
Suzanne and Barry are pictured with their two daughters, Macy and Mallory

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Suzanne and Barry are pictured with their two daughters, Macy and MalloryCredit: Facebook

PaulLeBlanc

PaulLeBlanc is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: paulleblanc@dailynationtoday.com.

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