Loved ones hold candlelight vigil for teacher Cathryn Gorospe

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Charlie Malzhan (Source: Flagstaff Police Department, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Arizona Department of Corrections) Charlie Malzhan (Source: Flagstaff Police Department, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Arizona Department of Corrections)

Hundreds of people packed Paseo Highlands Park in Phoenix Saturday to honor a beloved co-worker, family member, friend and teacher, Cathryn Gorospe.

Gorospe disappeared just over a week ago. On Friday, Flagstaff police say they had found remains that they believed belonged to the missing teacher.

[RELATED: Flagstaff police find remains believed to belong to missing teacher Cathryn Gorospe]

"She's a great person and she will always be with us," says Amaya Read, a former student of Cathryn Gorospe. 

"She was always laughing, always telling jokes,” remembers another student, Kaylei Ghmajchrzak.

Michelle Walsh was a former co-worker of Gorospe’s and says everyone loved her. "She would give you the shirt off of her back, amazing woman."

During the vigil, a statement was read on behalf of Cathryn's family saying in part:

"Moving forward we ask for your continued thoughts and prayers as we navigate the days ahead. Cathryn’s family and friends have an unbreakable bond that will continue through this difficult time. Our memories of her and our love for her will never be forgotten.”

"She was my daughter's hero, she was her favorite teacher, she really blossomed and grew in her classroom and we're all just heartbroken," says Julie Read, who was the “classroom mom" for Gorospe’s class at one time.

"The world lost a very bright light, a very bright light," says Donna Davis. She says she was one of Gorospe’s best friends.

Gorospe was last seen Friday, October 6, after bailing out Charlie Malzahn from a Coconino County jail.  We recently learned the two were involved in a romantic relationship. After a state-wide crime spree, Malzahn was arrested in Phoenix driving Gorospe’s car.

Malzahn sits in jail on multiple charges in unrelated cases.

Meantime, at Saturday’s vigil, with candles in hand, the many people who loved Gorospe say her spirit and legacy will continue to burn brightly.

"I think that all the people who were here will take her memories and her stories and she will live on," says Davis

"I would just like to focus on remembering who she was and the type of legacy that she left because teaching for 20-years there's a lot of lives out there that she touched,” says Read.

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.


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