Body believed to be missing teacher found in Mayer, AZ; case now called a homicide

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Charlie Malzahn's ADOC photo (Arizona Department of Corrections) Charlie Malzahn's ADOC photo (Arizona Department of Corrections)
Loved ones held a candlelight vigil for Gorospe this past weekend. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Loved ones held a candlelight vigil for Gorospe this past weekend. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Police in Flagstaff say they found a body believed to be that of missing teacher Cathryn Gorospe in Mayer, Arizona.

The 44-year-old teacher went missing Friday, October 6 after she bailed 27-year-old Charlie Malzahn out of jail in Coconino County.

Gorospe was believed to have been in a romantic relationship with Malzhan.

Flagstaff police Sgt. Cory Runge says Malzahn gave details and directions that led authorities to the area in Mayer where the body was found. Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and Flagstaff PD combined resources and found her remains on top of the ground Friday near a roadway on private property off Nugget Mine Road in Mayer.

Sgt. Runge said Malzahn was cooperative when detectives asked him for information.

"Detectives had a conversation with him that was rational, it was reasonable. I didn’t see any information that would indicate to me that he may have any illness or disability to understand what was happening," said Sgt. Runge.

This case has since "been reclassified as a homicide," said Sgt. Runge. 

[RAW VIDEO: Flagstaff PD briefing on Cathryn Gorospe case]

DNA testing is underway, but Runge says that police firmly believe the individual will be identified as Gorospe. Authorities say the deceased person meets the physical description of Gorospe, including the clothing she was seen wearing the night of her disappearance.

"At this time we are awaiting DNA testing to verify with 100 percent certainty that it is, in fact, Cathryn Gorospe, but we're very certain that it will come out of the be Cathryn," said Runge.

An autopsy has been completed in Yavapai County and determined the manner of death to be a homicide 

Right now, information is being withheld about on how she died, but Sgt. Runge said she had severe injuries and the manner in which she died was violent. 

"Some of those details we do know. We don’t want to damage the case or the investigation or any witness statements that may come as a result to this so those details are being withheld."

"We are still trying to find the scene of the crime. It appears to be that that was a disposal site for her," said Runge. "She was disposed of in Mayer and some vegetation leads us to believe that she was murdered in a separate location and at this time, we’re trying to find the scene where this occurred," said Sgt. Runge.

Although no charges have been filed, "investigators are working closely with Coconino County Attorney’s Office regarding potential charges that may be alleged."

As for Malzahn? "He has not made any statements on motive. However he did leave us some statements that lead us to believe he is the primary suspect in this case," added Sgt. Runge.

New today, Malzahn's sister Lauren Mossman said over the phone her brother shouldn't have been eligible for bail and that Gorospe's death could've been prevented. She claimed he told Coconino County detention officers he was homicidal and that they didn't provide a counselor or mental health professional to evaluate him.

AZ Family reached out to the Coconino County Jail for a response to her claims. A spokesperson said they don't provide information regarding inmates' medical or mental health services because it doesn't fall under "public information/records" and would violate inmates' right to privacy. The spokesperson added, "they take seriously the care of our inmates and their conditions and we have processes in place to address issues including medial and psychological issues or conditions."

Mossman added she considered Gorospe a friend. She described Gorospe as someone who always wanted to help. Mossman explained Gorospe and her brother met over the summer while he worked as a waiter at a Williams restaurant. Mossman said he was waiting on her table.

Mossman added Gorospe's death is senseless and that her family is praying for Gorospe's family. She declined an on-camera interview to respect Cathryn's family's wishes and privacy.

According to Flagstaff police, at least one witness believes to have seen Gorospe alive in Williams Friday night.

After being bailed out of jail by Gorospe, police believe Malzahn 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:


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.

-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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Family members visit site where Gorospe's possible remains located