Body-cam video shows missing woman talking to Arizona officer days before disappearance

Chelsea Grimm, 32, seemingly vanished after telling police she was going to camp in northern Arizona after finishing a photo shoot in the area.
Published: Oct. 13, 2023 at 8:18 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - New body camera video shows the moment a missing San Diego woman talks to a police officer in Williams, Arizona, just two days before she was last seen again. Now, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office is working with Chelsea Grimm’s family and friends on any tips or leads that come in because it’s been two weeks since she seemingly vanished.

“How are you doing?” the officer asks Grimm in the body camera footage. “I’m okay. How are you?” Grimm responds. The new body camera video shows a Williams police officer contacting 32-year-old Chelsea Grimm days before her car was found on a remote road without her in it.

In the video, the officer said they got a call for suspicious activity near the cemetery in Williams, and he came to check on her. Grimm appears upset and explains she was working on a photography project. “Are you doing alright?” the officer asks. “Yeah, I just was doing a photo shoot of the lost soldiers and got a little emotional, so I was crying before I got back on the road,” Grimm said.

Her disappearance, days after this video was recorded, has both family and authorities confused, searching high and low for tips as to where she went.

Here’s what we know so far: Grimm planned to drive from her home in San Diego to Connecticut to meet her family for a wedding. But she told her family she was stopping to camp in Arizona instead. Investigators know on Sept. 27, she met a friend in Phoenix and then canceled lunch with that friend the next day. On Sept. 28, she surfaces in Williams, Arizona and has that conversation with the officer, telling him she’s planning to camp nearby.

“Yeah, if it’s okay with you if I hang out here for another like 15 or 20 and then head on the road, that would be my plan I think,” Grimm tells the officer. “Do you have a hotel around here?” asked the officer. “I don’t, I was actually thinking of just camping for the night, but I wasn’t really sure exactly yet. I didn’t plan to be here until sunset,” Grimm says.

“The yellow lights up there, the Loves? It’s the trucker stop. In the gas station area, you can sleep there. Nobody will bother you.” the officer says. “Awesome. Yeah, love that,” Grimm replied.

The sheriff’s office said on Sept. 30, a woodcutter in an area near Ashfork, Arizona, saw Grimm camping in her car, talked to her, and she said she was okay.

But that’s the last known contact she had with anyone. “We are trying our best to hold onto positive outcome scenarios and put our faith in the authorities,” her father, Stephen Grimm, told Arizona’s Family.

On Oct. 4, her parents reported her missing, and on Oct. 5, hunters in the same rural area found her abandoned Ford Focus SUV in the middle of a dirt road with flat tires on the right side.

It was locked, many of her belongings were found inside, but there was no trace of her, and all cell phone and credit card activity has since stopped.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said while they don’t suspect foul play at this point, they’re trying to figure out if she got in another vehicle or if she hiked out. Either way, by the time they began investigating her disappearance, it had already been five days since the last time anyone saw her alive. The sheriff’s office said they’re actively working with her family and friends on any tips and leads.

She also has a pet bearded dragon that is a good identifying factor and a possible clue to her whereabouts if it’s found. If you have any information about Chelsea Grimm, please call the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.

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