Man linked to missing Glendale teacher accused of assault in ASU dorm

Friday, 13 October 2017, 08:02:40 PM. Newly obtained documents from Williams police paint a clearer picture of the suspect, but details remain sparse about the search for Cathryn Gorospe.

The man bailed out of jail by a now-missing Glendale kindergarten teacher is accused of physically assaulting a college student Sunday night in an Arizona State University residence hall room, police confirmed Thursday. 

Also Thursday, Williams police released records that shed more details on the life of Charlie Malzahn, the 27-year-old felon who is suspected of a cross-state crime spree that many fear might involve homicide.

But as loved ones continued searching a swath of Arizona for 44-year-old Cathryn Gorospe, none of the details has provided clues about what happened to the teacher.

"I'm sure nobody would say other than kind words about her," Larry Goforth, Garospe's next-door neighbor, told The Arizona Republic on Thursday.

History of incarceration 

Malzahn was no stranger to Williams police, with arrests mostly in connection with assaults and alcohol-related crimes. He served two stints in the Arizona Department of Corrections, on theft, aggravated assault and resisting arrest.

He was released in November 2016, according to Corrections Department records. In December, he had barricaded himself in a Williams motel.

The case that landed Malzahn in the Coconino County Jail originated in Tempe on Aug. 20. 

Malzahn's sister was driving her minivan on Interstate 10 in Tempe when her brother "became anxious" and thought she was "was going to have him 'sniped' by a car next to them," according to Williams police reports obtained Thursday. 

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Charlie Malzahn (Photo: Arizona Department of Corrections)

He climbed into the backseat and pulled out a handgun, at which point the woman stopped the vehicle, got out and took her children with her, according to a police report. He drove away and, hours later, called her to say the vehicle was at a bar in Williams, the report said.

Officers found Malzahn at the bar with a loaded Barretta 9mm handgun in his pants pocket, the report said. In the body-camera video, officers called him by his first name as they approached; he was well-known to some officers because of his lengthy rap sheet.

"Based on my knowledge and the information obtained from a credible source, I determined that contact with Mr. Malzahn would be a hazardous situation," one officer wrote in a report.

Officers ordered him to put his hands on a wall, andMalzahn was arrested without further incident and later booked into the jail in Flagstaff, where Gorospe posted his bail Oct. 7 — hours before his alleged crime spree began. 

9:50 p.m. Sunday: Assault at ASU

University police on Monday morning issued an alert seeking information about an unknown man who they say entered Hassayampa Academic Village with a female student about 9:50 p.m. Sunday.

Police said the man physically assaulted a woman, a stranger to him, in her room and then left in an unknown direction. 

"An investigation has led us to believe that Mr. Malzahn is involved in Sunday night’s assault on a female ASU student," ASU police said in a statement Thursday. 

Charges were expected to be filed, ASU police said. 

10 p.m. Sunday: Carjacking in Tempe

Moments after the on-campus assault was reported Sunday, Tempe officers responded to calls of a carjacking shortly after 10 p.m. in the 900 block of East Apache Boulevard — a block away from the ASU dorm.

The female driver said she was threatened by a man armed with a crowbar who was able to grab her keys and flee in her vehicle.

Her vehicle and possessions were later recovered, but the man was gone. 

"With information received from Flagstaff police, we were able to make a positive identification of the robbery suspect who was identified as Charlie Malzahn," Tempe police said. 

About three hours later, Phoenix police spotted Malzahn driving Gorospe's white Toyota Rav4 near 59th Avenue and Camelback Road, 20 miles away from the Tempe scenes. Malzahn tried to flee officers before crashing near 27th and Northern avenues, where he was taken into custody, police said.  

Flagstaff's investigation ongoing

The trail across the Valley came on the heels of a brief run-in with Tucson police Saturday, where Malzahn was caught using Gorospe's credit and debit cards.

That encounter came before anyone suspected wrongdoing and about the same time, investigators said, Malzahn contacted acquaintances in Clifton to get drugs and a gun. 

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Cathryn Gorospe's 2010 Toyota Rav4. (Photo: Flagstaff Police Department)

One acquaintance agreed to go with Malzahn to Tucson. The unnamed acquaintance described the vehicle Malzahn was driving as a white Rav4 that was missing portions of the rear bumper and had damage to the front quarter panel, Flagstaff police spokesman Cory Runge has said previously. 

There was reportedly blood on the center console, interior passenger door, sunroof and visor area and the interior driver door panel. Malzahn also had a cut on his right thumb, the acquaintance told police. 

Flagstaff police are leading the investigation into Gorospe's disappearancebut have yet to offer any theories about what might have happened, where or why. Speculation abounds about the connection between Malzahn and Gorospe with few clear answers.

Neighbors left wondering

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Paper bags with candles line the path to Cathryn Gorospe's home in north Glendale on Oct. 12, 2017. Gorospe was last seen Oct. 6 when she bailed Charlie Malzahn out of jail in Flagstaff. (Photo: Jason Pohl/The Republic)

Bright-green paper lunch sacks line the walkway to Gorospe's home, tucked at the end of a cul-de-sac in a quiet residential community off Loop 101 in north Glendale.

Each bag is illuminated with a battery-operated candle, homage for the missing woman described by friends and family as a fighter and avid hiker whose love of the outdoors and of teaching came to define her.

A pair of green signs are taped to the front window, the work of her students at Arrowhead Elementary School. One has the words "I love you" scrawled in large letters. The other summarizes what many are feeling: "We miss you, Cathryn." 

Goforth, her neighbor, stood in his garage Thursday as he recounted how he came to know Gorospe a decade ago, how she tended to the cactuses in the xeriscaped front yard, how proud she was to have recently finished repainting the concrete retaining wall.

"If you had a problem, she wanted to help you," he said. "She was a caregiver." 

Gorospe also worked as a tour guide for the Grand Canyon Railway, which is based in Williams, Perhaps, Goforth said, that's where she came to know Malzahn. 

He worries that the worst has happened.

"I can't think of anything other than thoughtful, kind things of her," he said. 

Police describe Gorospe as 5 feet, 5 inches tall and 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. 

Anyone with information is urged to contact Flagstaff police at 928-774-1414.

Reach the reporter at 602-444-8515 or on Twitter: @pohl_jason.

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Article Man linked to missing Glendale teacher accused of assault in ASU dorm compiled by www.azcentral.com