PHOENIX (AP) — A convicted felon gave investigators details that helped lead them to a body believed to be that of a missing teacher from suburban Phoenix, authorities said Tuesday.
Officials will use DNA testing to determine if they discovered the remains of 44-year-old Cathryn Gorospe on private, rural property in Mayer, Arizona, Flagstaff police spokesman Cory Runge said.
Authorities have classified the case as a homicide, but they are not yet releasing the cause of death.
Gorospe, a kindergarten teacher at Arrowhead Elementary School in Glendale, went missing on Oct. 6 after posting bond for 27-year-old Charlie Malzahn at the Coconino County Jail in Flagstaff.
Police suspect they may have been having a romantic relationship but it has not yet been verified, Runge said.
The body discovered by police matches the physical description of Gorospe and was clad in clothing she had on the night of her disappearance, police said.
Gorospe and Malzahn were supposed to eat dinner and return together to Phoenix, according to Gorospe’s roommate.
It’s unclear what happened but authorities believe Malzahn took Gorospe’s vehicle and tried to get a gun and drugs from an acquaintance the next day.
Malzahn is also suspected of assaulting a woman in an Arizona State University residence hall.
He was spotted in an SUV on Oct. 9 in Phoenix and arrested after he crashed it following a police pursuit. He remains jailed in Maricopa County.
Malzahn later provided details involving the body, Runge said.
He previously wouldn’t tell investigators about the woman’s whereabouts.
ASU police have sought charges of assault, unlawful imprisonment and trespassing in the ASU incident, spokeswoman Katy Harris said.
No charges have been filed in the death of Gorospe, but Runge said investigators are working closely with the Coconino County Attorney’s Office on the matter.
The public defender’s office appointed to represent Malzahn has not assigned him an attorney.
Malzahn has previously served prison time for theft, aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
The recovery of the body came after family and friends searched for Gorospe last week.
“Our investigators were in contact with the family very soon after we found her, and they have since visited the location where she was found,” Runge said.