A California woman on a solo cross-country trip mysteriously vanished two days after body cam footage showed her having a bizarre conversation with a cop outside a graveyard.
Chelsea Grimm, 32, was traveling with only her pet bearded dragon when she disappeared on September 30 while in Arizona.
Her parents reported her missing on October 4 after days of failing to reach her on the phone.
She was last seen camping near Ashfork, Arizona and her Ford Focus SUV was recovered five days later on the side of the road.
The vehicle had flat tires and none of her belongings, including her pet, were inside the car when police searched it.
Grimm’s last sighting came two days after she had a conversation with a police officer who responded to a call about a suspicious car near a graveyard an war memorial.
The intervening officer reported Grimm appeared “upset” when he approached her but she said she had become emotional while taking pictures in the area.
Grimm, an artist and photographer, said: “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.”
The officer then asked her if she had a hotel booked for the night, to which she replied: “I don’t, I was actually thinking of just camping for the night, but I wasn’t really sure exactly yet. I didn’t plan to be here until sunset.”
The man can be heard saying: “The yellow lights up there, the Loves? It’s the trucker stop. In the gas station area, you can sleep there. Nobody will bother you.”
She then thanked him for the tip. Grimm’s family has since hired a private investigator to help the police track down their daughter.
Dad Stephen Grimm told Law&Crime Network: “It’s a nightmare and it’s one that you never could have imagined yourself in and wouldn’t wish on anybody.
“But having said that, we’re hanging in there. We’re holding on to hope. Putting our faith in the law enforcement professionals. We’ve also hired a private investigator, which hopefully will help.”
Her mother Janet Grimm said her SUV was locked when the police found it and there were “no visual signs of a struggle.”
She added: “And it’s just possible that she just decided that she was going to proceed with her camping.”
The couple said Grimm had decided to travel cross-country to attend a wedding in Connecticut after learning she would not be able to bring her bearded dragon on the plane.
But after realizing the trip would take her too long, she decided to go camping instead and skip the wedding.
Her father added that Grimm appeared “uneven” during their last conversation, suggesting relationship problems could have altered her mental state.
He added: “She was upset with a boy she was dating; she was scared of him.
“We feel like she was running away from him. And I think overall, that was affecting a lot of her mindset.”
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