Colo. Mom Suzanne Morphew Vanished in May — and Community Wants to Keep Her on People's Minds

Members of Morphew's community decorated a Christmas tree in her honor in a local park "to keep her name out there"

Suzanne Morphew
Suzanne Morphew. Photo: Chaffee County Sheriff's Office

Last winter, Colorado mom Suzanne Morphew was getting ready for an upcoming trip to a sunny locale by tanning at a local salon near her home in the tiny town of Maysville.

“She was always super, super sweet,” Tisha Leewaye, owner of The Factory Salon and Bodyworks of Salida, where Morphew would go tanning, tells PEOPLE. “She was always super quiet. She and her daughters came in around February because they went to Mexico."

Like the rest of the community, Leewaye was shocked when she learned her client had vanished without a trace while on a bike ride on Mother’s Day.

Suzanne Morphew
Suzanne Morphew. Chaffee County Sheriff's Office

“When she went missing, it hit pretty close to home,” says Leewaye. “It was like, ‘That’s scary.'”

Morphew’s bike, according to CBS4 Denver and Fox 21, and a "personal item," according to the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office, were recovered during a search near her Maysville home, but little else is known about her disappearance.

Wanting to do something in Morphew’s honor during the holiday season, Leewaye teamed up with client Deetta Wilson to decorate a Christmas tree at Salida’s annual tree decorating event, Holiday Park, Fox 21 News first reported.


Leewaye got the idea from a client who came in during the late fall carrying a pamphlet from the Salida Sunrise Rotary Club which coordinated this year’s tree decorating fundraiser.

Each year, locals can “adopt a tree” at Riverside Park and decorate it for a business, a non-profit or in remembrance or in honor of a loved one, with proceeds funding scholarships, according to the club's website.

“The woman had a pamphlet with her and she said, ‘Here's $20 towards doing a tree for Suzanne. Would you guys do one?’” says Leewaye.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up forPEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

“I was like, ‘Yes, of course,’” says Leewaye. “I thought it would be a great way to get Suzanne’s name back out there again.”

Leewaye and Wilson made ornaments and then went to the park to decorate the tree, letting others add to it also.

“We're in such a small community and for something like this to happen is super kind of scary,” says Leewaye.

She is also trying to raise money to buy a brick in the new skate park in Morphew’s name.

“It’s a $250 donation and you get a brick and you can put whatever you want on it,” she says. "Our theme with Suzanne has always been, ‘Shine bright for Suzanne,’ So that's what we're going to put on the brick."

Since Morphew vanished, authorities have received hundreds of tips, carried out numerous searches throughout the county, and conducted countless interviews, the Chaffee County Sheriff's office said in a statement.

Shortly after Morphew vanished, her husband, Barry Morphew, offered a $100,000 reward for her safe return, which a family friend matched, CBS 4 in Denver reported.

suzanne morphew with her husband barry
Barry and Suzanne Morphew.

In September, Morphew’s brother, Andy Moorman, coordinated a massive, 6-day search to find any clue about his younger sister’s disappearance, coming up empty, according to the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office.

On Dec. 10, Barry Morphew passed out fliers about his missing wife outside a supermarket in Salida, Fox 21 reported.

The FBI, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office have not identified any suspects or persons of interest in the case.

No arrests have been made.

In the meantime, Leewaye keeps doing what she can to keep Morphew in the forefront of locals' minds.

“We have a big picture here at the salon,” she says. “It’s 11' x 20' as soon as you walk in the door.

“I think one of the reasons we are doing so much is because Suzanne was such a sweet, amazing person,” she says. “Why is this happening to her? We need to keep an awareness out there.”

Anyone with information is asked to call a tipline at 719-312-7530.

Related Articles