SAN DIEGO — A 32-year-old San Diego woman has been missing for more than two weeks.
Chelsea Grimm set off on a cross-country road trip in September and planned to drive to Connecticut for a friend’s wedding.
“Time is of the essence,” Chelsea’s father Stephen Grimm said in an interview with NewsNation.
Her parents said she left San Diego on September 24. While she originally had planned to fly, her parents said she recently got a pet bearded dragon and decided last minute to change plans and drive across the country to the wedding, so she could bring her pet along.
Her parents said a change of plans is not uncommon but said an adventure of this “magnitude” was a lot, even for Chelsea, who is fairly adventurous.
“She was originally going to fly but because of she recently acquired a bearded dragon as a pet and the airlines wouldn’t let her take that animal on the plane, so the day that she was supposed to fly east for the wedding, she called and said I am going to drive across the country, and she said I packed my car, I have my tent, I have my sleeping bag, I might spend a couple nights in a hotel, I might camp, we are sort of going to see how that goes,” Chelsea’s mother Janet Grimm said.
Janet said three days after Chelsea started her trip, she called her parents to let them know that she would not be making it to the wedding.
“She said I’m only as far as Arizona, I don’t think I can do this by myself, which we tried to explain but she said I think I’m just going to skip the wedding, stay here for a couple of days do a little camping, and the she made it sound like she was going to head back to San Diego,” Janet said.
“The magnitude of this ‘adventure,’ of driving across the country, was a lot even for Chelsea, and we said we both thought it was too much and we would help her fly from Phoenix home, or if there was friend in phoenix she could leave her car with, we gave her a bunch of options,” Stephen said.
Here’s the timeline of her disappearance:
- September 24: Chelsea left her home in San Diego
- September 27: Chelsea met with a friend in Phoenix
- September 27: Chelsea was seen at hotel in Seligman
- September 27: Last day Chelsea talked with her parents
- September 28: Body camera footage shows Chelsea talking with a police officer in Williams, Arizona
- September 30: Chelsea talked with a woodcutter in Ash Fork, Arizona
- October 4: Parents file missing person’s report
- October 5: Authorities find Chelsea’s SUV outside Ash Fork, Arizona
FOX 5 submitted a request for the body camera footage from the Williams Police Department in Arizona Thursday. The footage revealed that someone had called in a suspicious person who was sitting in their car. Police responded to the area, and the footage shows an officer talking with Chelsea, who had said that she was taking photos at the cemetery for a project about missing soldiers and had gotten emotional, so she was crying in her car before driving off.
During the footage, Chelsea had her bearded dragon with her in the front seat. She told the officer she planned to camp in her car that night. The officer said she couldn’t stay in her car in Williams, per a city ordinance. The officer told her the Love’s Truck Stop nearby could be a good option to stay in her car overnight.
During the interview, Grimm’s parents said they saw the video and didn’t think anytime seemed out of the ordinary.
Just a few days after the encounter with police, Chelsea’s car was found with two flat tires on the outskirts of Ash Fork, Arizona.
Her parents are hoping it’s a good sign that her car was found in the condition it was.
“There is a chance that she got a ride out of there. She seemed to have left that car of her volition, in an organized way. It was locked, she had taken her wallet, we think, her phone and her sleeping bag, among other things, along with the bearded dragon,” Chelsea’s father said.
“Chelsea has always had a special spot in her heart for children, elderly people and animals, and she would never leave an animal behind, she just wouldn’t do it, so I think that that is a tell tale sign,” Chelsea’s mother said.
Her parents are hoping people will recognize her because of her bearded dragon and a notable tattoo of a vine on her left arm.
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about Grimm’s to contact them at 928-774-4523.