The sister of a Palm Springs Fire Department firefighter remains missing in Arizona, but more than a dozen members of the city’s fire department were in the Grand Canyon state Friday in support of their fellow firefighter in his time of need.
Cathryn Gorospe, 44, the sister of PSFD’s Cory Gorospe, went missing last Friday after visiting the Coconino County jail in Flagstaff at 10:12 p.m. to bail out 27-year-old Charlie Malzahn, who was in custody since August on suspicion of theft and firearm possession.
The pair left together and traveled west towards the city of Williams, police believe.
“She has not been seen since and we fear harm has come to her,” the Flagstaff Police Department said in a statement.
Malzahn was arrested Monday morning in Phoenix following a pursuit and crash in Gorospe’s 2010 Toyota Rav 4, which police said was found with blood stains on the center console, interior passenger door, sunroof and interior driver door panel. Police have not alleged to who they might believe the blood belongs.
Malzahn is being held for the pursuit and for allegedly assaulting two arresting officers while being booked, including allegations that he put handcuffs around an officer’s head and neck and attempted to bite officers, according to an arrest report.
At present, police have not identified him as a murder suspect in connection with Gorospe’s disappearance.
After leaving the jail, police say Malzahn contacted acquaintances on Saturday morning to get drugs and a gun. Tucson police met up with him that afternoon at the Tucson Mall after he allegedly purchased items using Gorospe’s credit card. He allegedly told police he had permission to use the card, but officers seized the credit card and items he purchased.
Gorospe was reported missing on Sunday afternoon by her roommate, who said that it was uncharacteristic of Gorospe — a schoot teacher — to leave for a long period of time without making arrangements for someone to care for her dog. However, she did say that Gorospe had plans to eat dinner with Malzahn and travel to Phoenix with him.
Gorospe remains missing and Flagstaff police say Malzahn “has not provided investigators any information” regarding her whereabouts. Police also do not know how long Gorospe and Malzahn were together and are asking the public’s help in determining her whereabouts, including if anyone saw Gorospe and Malzahn together or the SUV, which is white and had Green Bay Packers stickers on it.
Investigators have also not yet accounted for some of the damage to her SUV, including two end pieces of the rear bumper that are missing.
Gorospe’s family, along with police and members of the fire department, have been conducting search efforts in Williams, located just over 30 miles west of Flagstaff.
The Palm Springs Fire Department posted online that “Over 13 of our off duty members” were in Arizona to “help our fellow brother and his family with the search efforts!”
The fire department said Arizona firefighter associations have also reached out to help .
Cory Gorospe posted online that he would also like to organize search efforts in Clifton, which is on the eastern edge of the state. Flagstaff police say Malzahn may have driven east from Phoenix towards Clifton before returning to Phoenix Monday.
“If anyone knows or can organize anything in Clifton, we know he grew up and traveled there,” Cory posted on Facebook. “It is very possible he took Cathryn there.”
Gorospe’s father, Raymond, also posted online Thursday requesting any help with the search.
“Our search is becoming more organized with the gracious support of Williams PD,” Raymond wrote. “Unable to answer all of your questions or acknowledge your love and support, but it is greatly appreciated. At this point, we feel comfortable accepting any help with the search efforts that you are able to offer.”
Anyone who has information regarding Cathryn’s whereabouts was asked to call the Flagstaff Police Department at (928) 774-1414 or Silent Witness at (928) 774-6111.
Those wishing to aid with the search were asked to contact Palm Springs Fire Captain Rande Ferguson at (954) 258-3741.
–City News Service