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.
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.”
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.
Flagstaff Police have identified the man shot and killed by officers during a shootout in the Walmart parking lot on Huntington Drive Thursday night as 29-year-old Sean D. Brady of Flagstaff.
Police were called to the Walmart at approximately 9:48 p.m. Thursday after Brady was reported brandishing a weapon, Flagstaff Police spokesman Sgt. Cory Runge said in a press release.
Runge said the dispute stemmed from an argument about Brady playing loud music in the parking lot when people who were sleeping there asked him to turn down the volume. Brady refused and pulled out his gun.
When officers arrived, Brady was inside his truck. Officers asked Brady to show his hands and exit the truck. At that time, Brady pulled out a handgun and fired at one of the officers, missing him, Runge said.
Body camera footage from one of the officers shows the officer asking Brady to turn off his vehicle several times before Brady fires at officers.
The officer and two backup officers returned fire multiple times each, Runge said. The truck rolled forward and collided with a light pole, Runge said. Officers formed a perimeter around the truck until the SWAT team could arrive to approach the vehicle safely.
Brady was removed from the truck and pronounced dead on the scene.
In the vehicle, officers found two rifles, a handgun, boxes of ammunition and several used casings, Runge said.
The three officers involved in the shooting, Pat Condon, Dustin Hemp and Ryan Sherif, have been placed on administrative leave following the shooting in accordance with protocol, Runge said. No officers were hurt in the shootout with Brady. One of the officers involved was in field training with one of the other officers. The other two officers have been with the department for "many years," Runge said.
The Multi-Agency Officer Involved Shoot Team was called to investigate the shooting, and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office has been identified as the lead agency in the investigation.
Runge said police had no contact with Brady before the shooting.