Police video shows the Aug. 20, 2017, arrest of Charlie Malzahn, the man being questioned in the disappearance of Glendale teacher Cathryn Gorospe. She was last seen Oct. 6 when she bailed Malzahn out of jail in Flagstaff. Williams Police Department

PHOENIX — As a former federal agent and private investigator, Tom Watson prides himself on being a different sort of bail bondsman, bent on helping those determined to straighten up and fly right.

He won’t just check a box saying someone has ties to a community and an interest in working. Watson, with Rose’s Bail Bonds in Flagstaff, does some digging — he says he will peruse Facebook pages looking for guns or drugs or signs of criminality.

He said he had reservations about Charlie Malzahn from the beginning, not because of social media but because of everything else. The 27-year-old felon’s criminal history was rife with assault charges. He lacked stability. Something didn’t add up when it came to the Aug. 20 vehicle theft and arrest in Williams that landed him in jail this time.

Simply put, there was little to guarantee Malzahn would abide by the rules of release orchestrated by a bondsman like Watson, and there was little to guarantee that someone willing to vouch for him would not get hurt.

In stepped Cathryn Gorospe.

Neighbors described her as the kind of woman whom nobody could speak ill of. She was a friend to everyone, disliked by none, and a hero in the eyes of those who knew her well.  

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Watson described her kindness as unmatched, with her innocence akin to that of one of the kindergartners she taught at Arrowhead Elementary School in north Glendale.

So when she called Watson in late August and tried to foot Malzahn’s $20,000 bond, which required the customary 10% down, he voiced his hesitations. Using a grandfatherly voice of wisdom, he inquired why it was she wanted so badly to help this man she barely knew. 

He talked her out of it — that time.

“She just came across as a really, really nice person,” Watson told The Arizona Republic, pausing for a moment. “Too nice.”

‘Worth the trouble’

Gorospe called back a couple of weeks later and again asked for Watson’s help.

They got to talking and agreed to take steps to protect Gorospe, including installing a location tracking…