Cathryn Gorospe, a kindergarten teacher in Flagstaff, Arizona, vanished after she bailed a younger felon out of jail.
Tragically, Flagstaff police say they now believe they have located the remains of the teacher, who was last seen posting bond for 27-year-old Charlie Malzahn, the stepson of a local police chief.
For days, Gorospe was listed as a missing person. Gorospe’s brother is a Palm Springs fire captain, who was trying to help find her, according to News Channel 3.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Flagstaff Police Revealed That they Discovered Remains They Believe to Be Gorospe
The story, unfortunately, had a tragic ending. Flagstaff police revealed in a statement that “law enforcement has located the remains of an adult female believed to be that of Cathryn Gorospe.”
“On October 13, 2017, Law Enforcement continued the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Cathryn Gorospe. Through their investigation they discovered the remains of an adult female who is believed to be Cathryn Gorospe,” police said.
Although they suspect the remains are Cathryn Gorospe, police said that an official confirmation has not yet been made.
“The location of where the female was located is currently being withheld until it is processed and scene investigators have concluded their investigation. At this time the manner and cause of death of the female is unknown and is pending an autopsy,” Flagstaff police said.
“The Flagstaff Police Department would like to express our condolences to her family and thank the public for their patience and assistance during the search for Cathryn,” the police statement concluded.
2. Gorospe Was Last Seen Bonding a Man out of the Jail
Cathryn Gorospe was last seen on October 8, and she was reported missing that day by her roommate, police said. For days, she was classified as a missing person.
Authorities said then that Gorospe was “last seen in Flagstaff on Friday October 6th, 2017. At that time, she bonded Charlie Malzahn, 27 years of age out of the Coconino County Jail. She has not been seen since and we fear harm has come to her.”
Gorospe’s roommate told police that “Cathryn was going to bond Malzahn, out of Jail, eat dinner and then travel back to Phoenix with him. The roommate reported she has not seen or heard from Gorospe since. She felt something was wrong, because it was unlike Gorospe to do this and not make arrangements for someone to care for her dog. The roommate was able to provide a physical description of Gorospe and her vehicle information. The vehicle was described as a white 2010 Toyota Rav 4 with Green Bay Packers stickers on it.”
After receiving the missing person’s report, authorities tried to locate Gorospe, her vehicle and Malzahn. “Gorospe and her vehicle were entered into the national database as missing,” authorities said in the statement.
3. Authorities Say Malzahn Was in the Jail on Gun Charges
Investigators were “able to determine Gorospe bonded Malzahn out of Jail at about 10:12 PM on Friday,” Flagstaff police said in an earlier statement.
Malzahn was in the jail on very serious charges.
“Malzahn had been booked into Jail on August 20th, 2017, by the Williams Police Department (WMPD report W17-01167) for the charges of:13-1814A1 theft of means of transportation, 13-3102A4 prohibited possessor, 13-3102A8 possession of a gun during the commission of a felony, and 13-3102A10 entering a public establishment after reasonable request to have no weapons in the establishment,” reported Flagstaff police.
They said they believed that Malzahn and Gorospe “left Flagstaff travelling west, likely via Interstate 40 toward the City of Williams. Ultimately it is unknown how long Malzahn and Gorospe were together. We are hoping someone may recognize their photographs or the vehicle. It is believed Malzahn took the vehicle from Gorospe at some point during his travels through Chino Valley, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey to I-17 south bound into Phoenix, Tempe, heading east through Gold Canyon, and ultimately ending up in Clifton Arizona.”
Police further alleged that, in Clifton Arizona, “Malzahn contacted a couple of acquaintances to try and get some drugs and a gun on the early morning of October 7th. One acquaintance, agreed to go with Malzahn to Tucson, stopping at a Shell mini mart / gas station and the Dollar General in Safford on the way.”
4. Police Say That Malzahn Was in Possession of Gorospe’s Credit Cards
Tucson police tracked Malzahn down on October 7 at a local mall.
“Tucson Police responded to the mall and contacted Malzahn in response to the purchase of items with a female’s credit card. Malzahn was in possession of Gorospe’s credit / debit cards, which he told the officer he had permission to have. The officer seized the items purchased as well as the credit and debit cards, impounding them into safe keeping, for further investigation,” Flagstaff police reported.
“The acquaintance described the vehicle Malzahn had in his possession as a white Rav 4, however it was missing the end pieces of the rear bumper and had damage to the front quarter panel (unknown side). It was also indicated that there was blood on the center console, interior passenger door, sunroof / visor area, and the interior driver door panel. The acquaintance also noticed a cut to Malzahn’s right thumb. With this information provided to investigators, the vehicle status was updated in the national database as a possible homicide vehicle,” said police.
The Phoenix Police Department located Gorospe’s vehicle on October 9. “Once the vehicle was spotted, Malzahn tried to flee from them, and a pursuit ensued. Malzahn crashed the vehicle and was taken into custody. Malzahn has not provided investigators any information about the whereabouts of Gorospe,” Flagstaff police alleged.
“Investigators feel Malzahn travelled from Flagstaff through Williams, Chino valley, Prescott, Prescott Valley to I-17, then through Phoenix to Clifton. We are seeking the public’s help to see if anyone recognizes Gorospe or Malzahn as being together, or recognizes the White Toyota Rav 4 with Green Bay stickers on it. Investigators are unsure where the damage to the vehicle occurred, as the two end pieces of the rear bumper are missing. Anyone with information that may be valuable is encouraged to contact The Flagstaff Police Department at 928-774-1414,” said the police statement.
5. Gorospe Taught at a Local Elementary School
According to AZCentral.com, Gorospe taught at “Arrowhead Elementary School in north Glendale.”
Her profile page on the school’s website says: “Welcome to Kindergarten Go-Team families! This is my 20th year of teaching. I am looking forward to another year building the foundations of learning for the 5 and 6 year olds in my classroom. As your child’s teacher, it is my goal to provide a safe, caring and educational environment in which your child can grow to be an independent learner. I strive to create positive relationships with my students and their families that put the educational needs of children first. Please feel free to email me with any questions, or if you prefer, send a note to school with your child. I hope you will join me in preparing your child to be a successful, life-long learner!”
“One of Gorospe’s neighbors said she also worked on school holidays and weekends as a tour guide for the Grand Canyon Railway, which is based in Williams. Perhaps, the neighbor said, that’s where she came to know Malzahn,” reported the newspaper, which added that the nature of the relationship between Malzahn and Gorospe is still being investigated.
Malzahn “is the stepson of the chief of police in Williams, a town of 6,000 residents off Interstate 40 about 35 miles west of Flagstaff” and has an arrest history for assault and theft, according to AZCentral.
According to Fox 10, Malzahn was recently accused in the assault of an Arizona State University student.
“On the night of October 8th, 2017, Malzahn allegedly physically assaulted a 17-year-old ASU student in her dorm room on the Tempe campus,” the television station reported.
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