Iowa murder suspect arrested in Rifle |

Iowa murder suspect arrested in Rifle

Ryan Summerlin
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Michael Lee Syperda
Courtesy Photo

Authorities have arrested a 52-year-old man in Rifle as a suspect in a 2000 murder in Iowa.

Local and federal officers found Michael Lee Syperda staying in a Rifle apartment on Thursday. The Garfield County Threat Assessment Group worked with federal agents from Homeland Security and a U.S. Marshals Service Violent Fugitive Task Force to track the 52-year-old to an apartment complex on the 3000 block of Coal Mine Avenue. He had an active Iowa warrant for first-degree murder.

Syperda was the estranged husband of an Iowa woman, 22-year-old Elizabeth Syperda, who went missing 17 years ago.

The young woman was last seen by her roommate in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, according to Iowa Cold Cases. At about 10:30 p.m. on July 16, 2000, the roommate left their residence for work, and when she returned early the next morning, Elizabeth Syperda was gone.

The 22-year-old had, at that time, been living separate from her husband for two years, and only a month before her disappearance, Michael Syperda was arrested on assault of his wife and her roommate, according to ICC. Four months after she vanished, he pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and domestic abuse assault in the case, and was sentenced to five years of probation, the cold case organization reports.

After the missing person case was reopened, a grand jury in Iowa indicted Syperda on first-degree murder just two days ago, as reported by the Associated Press.

Investigators first found his vehicle in Rifle, then confirmed through neighbors that a man matching Syperda’s description had been living in an apartment complex there. Authorities established a perimeter around the apartment. They eventually got Syperda to come to the door, and he was arrested without incident.

He is being held at the Garfield County jail on a no-bond warrant, and Iowa authorities plan to seek his extradition.

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