Iowa murder suspect arrested in Rifle on Thursday
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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Garfield County says no open burning is permitted between noon and 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, due to the National Weather Service Red Flag warning.