FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Flagstaff police have found a body that they believe is that of a 44-year-old Phoenix-area kindergarten teacher who went missing after posting bond for a felon.
The remains of Cathryn Gorospe were discovered on private property near Nugget Mine Road, off State Route 69, in Mayer. Authorities have not disclosed a cause of death.
Gorospe disappeared on October 6 after posting bond for her friend, 27-year-old Charlie Malzahn. As her family and friends began searching for her, authorities attempted to piece together a timeline of Malzahn’s movements.
Authorities believe that Gorospe was either in a romantic relationship with Malzahn, or had been in a previous romantic relationship with him. Flagstaff police spokesman Cory Runge told KPHO that they considered Malzahn a “primary suspect.”
Detectives believe that Malzahn took Gorospe’s vehicle from her at some point on the night of October 6, and he allegedly tried to get a gun and drugs from an acquaintance in Clifton early on October 7.Malzahn is also suspected in a string of crimes across the state in the days following Gorospe’s disappearance, according to The Arizona Republic. These reportedly include an October 8 assault of an Arizona State University student in her dorm room, and a carjacking that took place a block away a few minutes later. Malzahn’s alleged crime spree was brought to an end after Phoenix police reportedly spotted the suspect driving Gorospe’s white Toyota Rav4 about 20 miles away, where he crashed the car before police took him into custody. An acquaintance of Malzahn said blood was found throughout Gorospe’s SUV, according to the report.
Malzahn is also accused of making purchases with Gorospe’s credit and debit cards, which he told police he had permission to have, at a Tuscon mall.
Malzahn was released from prison in November 2016 after serving time for theft, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest, the paper reports. He was back in jail this month following an August 20 incident in Tempe in which he allegedly threatened his sister with a gun, stole her car, and was later found by law enforcement at a bar with a loaded handgun.
Gorospe posted his bail just a few hours before she went missing. The two were supposed to eat dinner and return together to Phoenix, according to Gorospe’s roommate.
The victim’s stepmother Deidre Gorospe said a botanist looked at forensic evidence of vegetation on her stepdaughter’s vehicle, and narrowed her location down after identifying three plants that only grow together in two areas of Arizona. Malzahn is reported to have also assisted authorities in finding the location of Gorospe’s body.
Deidre added that her stepdaughter’s Christian nature meant that she was kind to everyone. The Deer Valley Unified School District released a statement to KPHO saying her students, friends and colleagues are deeply saddened and had “hoped and prayed for a different outcome.”
Recommended For You:
Main photo: Cathryn Gorospe (left) [Deer Valley Unified School District] and Charlie Malzahn (right) [Flagstaff Police Department]