DENVER (KDVR) — The number of missing persons per year has been going up both in Colorado and nationally, though Colorado’s number are in the middle of the national pack.
Chaffee County mother Suzanne Morphew went missing last Mother’s Day weekend. Today, her husband Barry Morphew was arrested on murder charges by Chaffee County Sherriff’s Department.
Though widely visible, the Morphew tragedy is far from the only open missing persons case in the state. The state currently has eight such cases since last May.
As Colorado’s population has gone up, so has its annual number of missing persons. It is important to note, however, that over time missing persons are found and their cases are no longer considered open, so they are removed from this accounting.
There were are a total 19 missing persons with cases that remain open from the 1970s. There are now 97 open cases from 2010s.
Colorado’s numbers mirror national missing persons statistics.
Nationally, there are 374 missing persons cases that remain open from the year 2000. Beginning in 2015, the number of missing persons nationally went sharply upward. For the year 2020, there are 1,186 missing persons cases that remain open.
Colorado, by comparison, has 186 missing persons cases still open from 2000 to the present, the 21st highest number in the country.
Colorado has an even lower ranking for the number of missing persons per capita.
Colorado has 3.22 open missing persons cases per every 100,000 residents based on its 2020 population, the 23rd lowest rate in the U.S. In comparison, Arkansas has 25.77 missing persons per 100,000.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of Colorado’s missing persons come from the highly populous counties along the Front Range.
Denver has the highest number of open missing person cases in the state at 41, followed by El Paso County at 39, Jefferson County at 32, Arapahoe County at 31 and Boulder County at 22.
While Barry Morphew has been charged with murder, Suzanne’s disappearance remains an open missing person case because her remains have not been found.