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Missing from Arizona Desert

Chelsea Grimm's Story

By Christine Childs Published 2 months ago 5 min read
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Missing from Arizona Desert
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

On October 4th, 2023, thirty-two-year-old Chelsea Grimm vanished in the Kaibab National Forest on Forest Road 6, twelve miles west of Williams, Arizona. Multiple searches have been conducted by local residents. The Coconino Sheriff’s department conducted ground searches along with K9 searches which were unsuccessful. A private investigator hired by the family also conducted ground searches, surveillance, and drone searches to no avail. No evidence of Chelsea’s whereabouts has been found as of the writing of this article.

Chelsea had recently received her master’s degree in social work and was looking forward to helping others. She was a lover of music and seemed to express herself and her feelings through it, Chelsea began ballet at the age of three. In 2008 she lived in France for a year and a half while studying at the Southern France Youth Institute and graduated in 2009, she adored good food and seemed to enjoy cooking. She enjoyed reading and admired quotes from Socrates and Plato. In 2015, she suffered the loss of her boyfriend which plagued her for years to come. Chelsea was from Stamford, CT, went to college in NY and moved to San Diego in 2020. She was an artist and a psytographer telling stories through her photographs. Chelsea claimed to be Buddhist and was a spiritual person. Ms. Grimm also engaged in shadow work. Shadow work is a type of therapy invented by Carl Jung, a psychiatrist.

The following year, in 2023, Chelsea would plan a trip across the country to her friend’s wedding in Connecticut; she would travel with her pet bearded dragon named Roxy. However, just days into her journey, she felt as if the trip was too much for her and decided it best to return home to San Diego. But first she would stop and meet a friend in Phoenix. She arrived in Phoenix, where she met up with her sister and a friend. She was supposed to meet up with her friend for lunch, but those plans were cancelled by Chelsea when she stated that she was going to do her retreat alone.

The Arizona desert was not unfamiliar to Ms. Grimm. She had hiked the desert in 2008 for eight weeks. In 2022, she went on a spiritual retreat to Arizona alone. There she would embrace the beauty the Arizona desert had to offer and snap beautiful pictures of the landscapes.

However, on October 4th, 2023, Chelsea would vanish from the Arizona desert, the one place that seemed to bring her solace. What led up to her disappearance days before she was reported missing by her parents is a confusing pattern of events.

On September 27th, 2023, Grimm contacted her parents and asked if she could attend a retreat in Arizona, the Canyon Ranch Resort Spa in Tucson, but her parents declined. It is alleged that Grimm threw her sim card out in the area of Wickenburg, AZ. September 28th, 2023, Chelsea was seen on CCTV at a hotel in Seligman, Arizona attempting to pay for a room in Euros. Unfortunately, the hotel did not accept this form of payment. She could be heard on video stating that she was trying to stay off the grid because she recently got out of a relationship with domestic issues. Later that evening on September 28th, Chelsea was approached by a police officer in Williams, Arizona in a cemetery late in the evening according to body cam footage I viewed. The officer approached Ms. Grimm’s vehicle to check on her safety. The officer asked if she had been smoking marijuana. She admitted to smoking earlier in the day. In the body cam footage, it was apparent that Chelsea was tearful when speaking to the officer. In fact, she admitted to being emotional while photographing the graves of the lost and forgotten soldiers. Chelsea stated that she was working on a project about the lost and forgotten people in our country and became emotional. She chose to sit in her car to collect herself before driving. The officer asked her if she had a hotel and she stated that she did not. He then directed her to a Loves Travel Stop where she could park and sleep in her car safely. The traffic stop ended shortly thereafter.

September 29, 2023, at approximately 6:40 a.m., two hunters saw Ms. Grimm on forest road 124, taking pictures, incidentally eight miles away from where her car was located days later. When the hunters returned to the area around 8:40 a.m., Chelsea was seen in the vehicle with a man who was described as Hindu. At 12:00 p.m., the hunters arrived back in the area and the vehicle was gone.

The following day, September 30th, Ms. Grimm was seen by a woodcutter and his partner on forest road 6 at approximately 12:00 p.m. When he was leaving after sunset, he stopped to ask Chelsea if she needed help, but she declined any help. The witness stated nothing seemed out of the ordinary with Ms. Grimm.

The same day, a hunter witnessed Chelsea around 11:00 a.m. Her vehicle had two flat tires on the passenger side. He asked Ms. Grimm if she needed assistance, but she declined, stating that she had someone coming in ten minutes to assist her. The hunter left but returned ten minutes later because he felt bad about leaving her alone. However, upon his return, Chelsea was gone. Her vehicle was locked with her purse inside. Four days later she was reported missing on October 4th, 2023.

October 5th, 2023, the Coconino Sheriff’s department located Ms. Grimm’s car when two hunters reported her vehicle abandoned. When they arrived, they found a purse, laptop computer, an iPhone, her camera, a small backpack, journals, a tent, a bong, and a small case containing miscellaneous items. However, her keys, identification, and credit cards were not located.

Chelsea’s case has had multiple private investigators working to find her. Local strangers have joined in the search for Ms. Grimm as well. I contacted the Coconino Sheriff’s department, and they were kind enough to provide me with an update which states, “This case is still open, and we are following any new leads we receive”.

If you have any information regarding this case, please contact the Coconino Sheriff’s Department at 928-774-4523 and reference case number S2303352

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About the Creator

Christine Childs

Christine Childs is a freelance journalist, missing person's podcaster and advocate covering the U.S. and Canada. She holds a BA in Social Sciences in criminal justice and psychology. Graduate student in communications.

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