Michael Syperda made his first appearance in the Henry County Courthouse Wednesday morning.
Syperda, who was arrested in Colorado and charged with the first degree murder of his estranged wife, Elizabeth Syperda, was extradited to Mt. Pleasant Tuesday night, Feb. 27, and made his initial appearance in front of Judge Timothy Leichty the following morning, at 9 a.m.
Syperda is being accused by Henry County and the State of Iowa of the crime of murder in the first degree of his estranged wife Elizabeth, who disappeared from Mt. Pleasant in 2000. Murder in the first degree is a Class A felony and carries life imprisonment. He is being held without bond in the Henry County Jail.
During the hearing, County Attorney Darin Stater read the charges: “You, Michael Lee Syperda, did commit murder of Elizabeth Syperda,” he said.
Syperda will be appointed a public defender. He was not required to make a statement during the hearing, as anything he said could be used against him. He is not entitled to a preliminary hearing to establish probable cause because a grand jury has already found probable cause in the indictment, Leichty said.
The court will schedule an arraignment once an attorney has been appointed. Syperda was given the number of the Public Defendant’s Office and was told he would get a chance to reach out to them today (Wednesday).
Syperda made no statements regarding the charges.
As he was walking out of the courtroom, he advised his son, also Michael Syperda, not to speak to The News.
Syperda was arrested in Rifle, Colo. on Nov. 30, 2017. The arrest warrant was issued out of an indictment after a grand jury convened, reviewing Elizabeth’s case and reclassifying it as a homicide investigation March 2017.
Stater began the extradition process in December by sending a request to extradite Syperda from Colorado to Iowa to the governor of Iowa on Dec. 19. The governor of Colorado received it in January.
Elizabeth was last seen in Mt. Pleasant on July 16, 2000. A month before she went missing, Syperda allegedly assaulted Elizabeth and her roommate Sara Thomas.
In 2000, Syperda was charged with first-degree felony burglary, domestic abuse assault and second-degree felony criminal mischief. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and $250 in fines for the charge of domestic abuse assault. He was also sentenced to 10 years in the Iowa State Prison and a $1,000 fine on the burglary charges.
Both prison sentences were suspended, and Syperda was granted one-year probation on the domestic abuse charge and five-year probation on the burglary charge.
Henry County prosecuting attorney at the time, Michael Riepe, told The News in 2000 that losing Elizabeth as a potential witness hampered the prosecution’s case and was a factor in the plea bargain.
Shortly before she disappeared, Elizabeth left her job at Experian in Mt. Pleasant. She never picked up her last check.
According to Stater in a Henry County board of trustees meeting on Feb. 6, her body has not been found.