Flagstaff police find remains believed to belong to missing teacher Cathryn Gorospe

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Cathryn Gorospe Cathryn Gorospe
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

One week after Glendale teacher Cathryn Gorospe went missing, Flagstaff police say they may have found her remains.

"At approximately 5:00 today, we found the remains of a person that's a female that we believe to be Cathryn Gorospe," said Sgt. Cory Runge with the Flagstaff Police Department.

They're also confirming a "romantic relationship" had existed between Gorospe and person of interest in the case, Charlie Malzahn

Flagstaff police sent out a statement Friday evening saying that officials located the remains of an adult female believed to be those of Gorospe.

The identity of the woman is still pending a positive identification at this time.

The location of where the woman was located is currently being withheld, but officials tell us the remains were not found in Flagstaff or Coconino County.

"She was not found within the city limits of Flagstaff," said Runge. "At this time we're not disclosing the location."

Neighbors say their hearts go out to Gorospe's family. "It's been really tough, a lot of unanswered questions, and a lot of unknown and heartbreak and now, even worse," said neighbor Amy Nardi.

"Absolute heartbreak," Nardi continued. "Thankful for the family to have some kind of sort of answers, I guess. There's still a lot of unknown and a lot more to find out." 

Although Flagstaff PD has not confirmed whether the remains found are those of Gorospe, Deer Valley School District, where Gorospe teaches, sent out a statement Saturday morning stating they are "saddened to learn of her death."

Deer Valley Unified School District's full statement: 

We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of our Arrowhead Teacher Cathryn Gorospe. Cathryn’s friends and colleagues at Arrowhead Elementary School and throughout the Deer Valley Unified School District had hoped and prayed for a different outcome. During this difficult time, we feel fortunate to belong to a school and district family where we support and take care of each other. Our District crisis flight team of counselors and psychologists will be at the school Monday to provide assistance and support to Ms. Gorospe’s students, as well as all of our Arrowhead students and staff. Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out Cathryn’s family, friends, and colleagues.

Gorospe was last seen on Friday, October 6, when she bailed Charlie Malzahn out of a Coconino County jail.

We are also told she was either in a "romantic relationship" with Malzahn, or had been in a previous romantic relationship with him.

"We do believe foul play has been afoot, and Mr. Malzahn is a primary suspect," said Runge,

As for Malzahn, after being bailed out of jail, police believe he took off on his state-wide journey that eventually landed him in handcuffs.

Police say they arrested Malzahn in Phoenix after he was found to be driving Gorospe’s car. 

Malzahn sits in jail on multiple charges in unrelated cases.

Here's a look at a timeline of his recent run-ins with the law:

TIMELINE

Sunday, Aug. 20 

-Police say Charlie Malzahn carjacked his sister in Tempe and then drove her van to Williams. Police located the van and arrested Malzahn.

PDF: Williams Police Department report

Friday, Oct. 6  

- Glendale kindergarten teacher Cathryn Gorospe drives up north to bail Malzahn out of the Coconino County Jail. Photos from a surveillance camera show her walking into the building. Gorospe's roommate said Gorospe planned to return home with Malzahn that night.

Saturday, Oct. 7

-Police believe Malzahn contacted some acquaintances in Clifton Saturday morning "to try and get some drugs and a gun ...."  That afternoon, Tucson police made contact with Malzahn at the shopping mall in regard to some purchases he made with a woman's credit card.

Sunday, Oct. 8

-Gorospe's roommate reported her missing.

-Malzahn was accused of punching an ASU student in the face in her dorm room.

PDF: Court paperwork Malzahn's arrest in Phoenix

-Tempe police believed Malzhan then carjacked a woman in the area of Apache Boulevard and Rural Road at about 10 p.m. Police said he threatened her with what was believed to be a crowbar. That vehicle was later recovered.

Monday, Oct. 9

-Phoenix police arrested Malzahn in the early morning hours after spotting him in Gorospe's vehicle at about 1:30 a.m.

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