ST. GEORGE — An investigation into a woman who went missing Friday has led police to evidence indicating that the woman may have been the victim of a homicide. Officials Tuesday asked the public’s help in locating her.
The search for 44-year-old Cathryn Gorospe – a kindergarten teacher in Glendale, Arizona – began Sunday when her roommate reported her missing, Flagstaff Police Sgt. Cory Runge said in a statement issued Tuesday evening.
Gorospe was last seen in Flagstaff Friday at approximately 10:12 p.m. when she posted bond at the Coconino County Jail for her friend, 27-year-old Charlie Malzahn, officials said.
“She has not been seen since and we fear harm has come to her,” Runge said.
According to her roommate, Gorospe had plans to bond Malzahn out of jail, eat dinner and then travel back to Phoenix with him, Flagstaff police said, adding:
She felt something was wrong, because it was unlike Gorospe to do this and not make arrangements for someone to care for her dog.
Gorospe and her vehicle – described as a white 2010 Toyota Rav4 with Green Bay Packers stickers – were entered into the national database as missing, and investigators immediately began trying to locate Gorospe and Malzahn.
Investigators believe the two left Flagstaff traveling west via Interstate 40 toward the city of Williams, officials said. It is believed Malzahn took the vehicle from Gorospe at some point during his travels through Chino Valley, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey to southbound Interstate 17 into Phoenix, Tempe and then heading east through Gold Canyon before ending up in Clifton, Arizona.
“Ultimately, it is unknown how long Malzahn and Gorospe were together,” Flagstaff police said. “We are hoping someone may recognize their photographs or the vehicle.”
Early Saturday morning, Malzahn contacted some acquaintances in Clifton in an effort to obtain drugs and a gun, police said, noting that one acquaintance agreed to go with Malzahn to Tucson.
At approximately 1 p.m. Saturday, an officer with the Tucson Police Department questioned Malzahn at a Tucson mall after it was reported that he had attempted to purchase items with a woman’s credit card.
Malzahn told police he had permission to have the credit and debit cards, which belonged to Gorospe, Runge said. The officer seized the purchased items and cards for further investigation but did not detain Malzahn.
When questioned later by police, Malzahn’s acquaintance described the vehicle Malzahn was driving as a white Rav4 that was missing pieces of the rear bumper and had damage to the front quarter panel, Runge said, adding that police are unclear how or where the damage occurred.
The acquaintance told police there was blood on the vehicle’s center console, interior passenger door, sunroof and visor area and the interior driver door panel, officials said. Malzahn also had a cut on his right thumb, the acquaintance told police.
Based on the information provided to investigators, police updated the status of Gorospe’s missing vehicle in a national database to indicate a possible homicide, Runge said.
On Monday, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Phoenix police spotted Gorospe’s vehicle, prompting a pursuit as Malzahn tried to flee from the officers. Malzahn crashed the vehicle and was taken into custody.
Malzahn has not provided investigators with any information about Gorospe’s whereabouts.
Gorospe is described as a white female, approximately 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.
Anyone with information about Gorospe’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Flagstaff Police Department at 928-774-1414.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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