Nearly two weeks after a missing California woman’s car was found abandoned in Arizona, authorities are still searching for the 32-year-old who was last seen camping out of her vehicle in a rural area.
Chelsea Grimm had planned to drive from her home in San Diego to a family wedding in Connecticut in her white 2019 Ford Escape with a pet bearded dragon but told her family she was stopping to camp, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona and news reports.
She last spoke to her family on Sept. 27, when she was in the Phoenix area. The next day she had an encounter with a police officer in Williams, Ariz., more than 100 miles to the north, according to body camera footage provided to Arizona news station KPHO-TV. Grimm was parked in her car near a cemetery and appeared to be upset, police said.
“Are you doing all right?” the officer asked as he approached Grimm sitting in the driver’s seat.
“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,” she said.
She explained to the officer she planned to camp in the area, and the officer recommended she park her car at a nearby truck stop.
“Nobody will bother you,” the unidentified officer said.
“Awesome. Yeah, love that,” she said.
Two days later, Sept. 30, a woodcutter spotted Grimm in the area of Ash Fork, west of Williams. He spoke to her and she said she was OK. Authorities say that’s the last time she was seen.
“We are trying our best to hold on to positive outcome scenarios and put our faith in the authorities,” her father, Stephen Grimm, told KPHO.
Grimm’s family reported her missing to the Phoenix Police Department on Oct. 4. The next day, a group of hunters found her car abandoned on Forest Road 6 in the Kaibab National Forest, south of the Grand Canyon and about 50 miles northeast of Ash Fork, authorities said in a news release.
Search-and-rescue crews and criminal investigators responded to the area where Grimm’s car was found, and the investigation is ongoing.