Police say they believe a missing Glendale kindergarten teacher last seen bailing convicted felon Charlie Malzahn of Williams out of jail in Flagstaff is dead.
Sgt. Cory Runge of the Flagstaff Police Department said the remains of an adult female found Friday are believed to be those of Cathryn Gorospe, whose blood-stained Rav4 was recovered when Malzahn was arrested Monday in Phoenix on charges unrelated to her disappearance.
Malzahn has not cooperated with police, and Gorospe’s family and friends spent the last two days searching the woods around Williams for her.
Runge declined to release the location of the remains until investigators have processed the scene. He said positive identification has not been confirmed, but the evidence points toward Gorospe.
“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,” he said in a prepared statement.
Runge said the time and cause of death is unknown and is pending an autopsy.
PUZZLED AT POSSIBILITY
Earlier on Friday, some in Williams were puzzled by the possibility that Malzahn’s could be involved in Gorospe’s disappearance.
But others like Malzahn’s sister, Lauren Mossman, had little doubt. Mossman called him a “monster” on social media and said “he will pay the price.”
Malzahn was arrested August 20 after he stole Mossman’s car at gunpoint in Tempe, stranding her and her children on Interstate 10.
Malzahn is the stepson of the Williams chief of police and attended Williams high school a decade ago but did not graduate. He only recently returned to Williams after more than four years in prison for aggravated assault, and Gorospe became friends with him while working during the summer at Grand Canyon Railway.
Rebel Grimm, a manager of Canyon Club Cocktails, said Malzahn, 27, and Gorospe, 44, would often have drinks out on the bar patio and then head to Sultana Bar for another cocktail later in the evening.
“They met about four months ago when Charlie came back home,” Grimm said. “You would see them outside having drinks and they seemed like really good friends.”
Grimm described Malzahn as a person likely to make stupid decisions, but never hurt someone.
“He would get into trouble, but it was always dumb, little stuff,” Grimm said.
Sultana bartender Laurie Arnberger said Malzahn and Gorospe were regular visitors at the bar.
“Over the summer I saw them pretty regularly,” Arnberger said. “They would have a few drinks and then leave. They were never an issue and always seemed friendly.”
Sherri Milton, who attended Willams High School with Malzahn, described him as “a ladies man” who was “always fooling around.”
However, Milton also was not surprised about Malzahn’s potential involvement in Gorospe’s disappearance.
“This whole situation doesn’t really shock me,” Milton said. “He was always the type of guy that would get in trouble.”
Williams Mayor John Moore, who owns Wild West Junction Steakhouse where Malzahn worked as a waiter, said Malzahn was “pleasant, cordial and a good worker.”
UNAWARE OF PAST ARRESTS
Many residents interviewed Friday said they did not know of Malzahn’s stint in prison, the Aug. 20 arrest or his alleged assault of an Arizona State University Student in her dorm on Sunday and an alleged carjacking of a woman in Tempe that same night.
“When he came back to Williams he just said he had been away,” Grimm said. “I didn’t know he had been in prison and it makes a lot of sense that I haven’t seen him for a month because he has been locked up.”
However, Williams Police were aware of Malzahn’s criminal history.
Lt. Darrell Hixson of the Williams Police Department wrote that Malzahn had “an extensive criminal history” and determined that “contact with Mr. Malzahn would be hazardous,” according to a Williams Police report of Malzahn’s August arrest.
Malzahn was given a supervised release from prison in November 2016. One month later he barricaded himself in the Budget Host Inn in Williams. He was charged with criminal damage and disorderly conduct.
He was taken off supervised release in June, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Malzahn was arrested in Phoenix on Monday on assault charges unrelated to Gorospe’s disappearance. He was driving Gorospe’s Toyota Rav4 at the time of his arrest.
Acquaintances in Tucson told police that they saw blood inside the vehicle, according to Runge.