Family of missing Glendale teacher searching national forest

Missing teacher's family searching near Williams
Posted at 12:22 PM, Oct 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-13 20:44:37-04

Family and friends are conducting an unofficial search for a Glendale kindergarten teacher who went missing last week after posting bond for a man, the woman's stepmother said Friday.

Cathryn Gorospe hasn't been seen since last Friday when she posted bond for her friend, 27-year-old Charlie Malzahn, Flagstaff police said.

Deidre Gorospe said about 30 people are searching the Kaibab National Forest around Williams for her stepdaughter or any other clues. Malzahn traveled over 400 miles, Gorospe said.

"We've had such an outpouring of friends and family that we said we're going to stay looking," Deidre Gorospe said.

Deidre Gorospe said they are expecting the search party to double by the end of Friday. The people searching have divided into multiple teams that are combing through different parts of the area, she said.

Authorities say Malzahn won't tell investigators about the woman's whereabouts.

Coconino County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Erika Wiltenmuth said the department is assisting Flagstaff police as they lead the investigation. About 25 people from Coconino County Sheriff's Office, including search and rescue volunteers, two dog teams and regular deputies are searching the forests in the Williams area, Wiltenmuth said.

The two were supposed to eat dinner and return together to Phoenix, according to Gorospe's roommate, who reported the 44-year-old Arrowhead Elementary School teacher missing Sunday afternoon.

Flagstaff police believe Malzahn took Gorospe's vehicle from her at some point Friday night, and he allegedly tried to get a gun and drugs from an acquaintance in Clifton early Saturday.

"He damaged that car and the two sides of the bumper broke off," Deidre Gorospe said. "If we find those two pieces of bumper, we will have a better idea of where she is."

Malzahn allegedly tried to buy items at a Tucson mall Saturday afternoon with Gorospe's credit and debit cards, which he told police he had permission to have.

Tucson police impounded the cards, and Malzahn drove off in a vehicle that had some blood on the center console, inside door panels and sunroof area, according to the Clifton acquaintance.

The SUV was spotted early Monday in Phoenix. Malzahn was arrested after he crashed it following a police pursuit.

Deidre Gorospe said a botanist looked at forensic evidence of vegetation on her stepdaughter's vehicle, and narrowed it down to three plants that only grow together in two areas of Arizona. Those places are the mountains near Williams and Top-of-the-World in eastern Arizona.

Deidre Gorospe said her stepdaughter's Christian spirit would lead her and that she is nice to everyone.

"She's always trying to help an underdog, and that's what we think might have happened," Deidre Gorospe said.