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Police Searching for Missing FL Police Cadet

Police Searching for Missing FL Police Cadet

Tampa Bay Tribune via YellowBrix

March 17, 2011

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Kelly Rothwell made a career change when she enrolled in the police academy last year. The 34-year-old was an enthusiastic recruit, excited about her new calling.

She hadn’t missed a day at the academy — until Monday. Now authorities are worried she may be in danger.

Rothwell hasn’t been seen since Saturday, and hasn’t returned dozens of calls from family, friends and detectives, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. When a friend asked deputies to check on her Sunday, they found her beach condo empty and her vehicle parked 2 miles away.

Detectives say they need the public’s help to find her. They especially need the help of her live-in boyfriend: David R. Perry.

But the 46-year-old abruptly returned to his native New York recently and has refused to speak to detectives here and there about her disappearance, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“That’s not helping us out at all,” said Detective Michael Bailey. “Our ultimate goal is just to find her and he’s not helping us.”

Perry is a retired New York corrections officer who should understand the importance of cooperating with law enforcement, Bailey said.

Rothwell’s family in Maryland “was very upset,” said Bailey, who was trying to keep them updated as often as possible.

The couple share a condominium at 2708 Gulf Blvd. Neighbors said Rothwell moved in about five years ago and used to work for the Hilton hotel chain.


David Perry

“Kelly was a really nice gal,” said neighbor Ken Williamson, 76. “Kind of shy.”

Neighbors, though, did not have any nice words about Perry, the beau who moved in with her a few years later.

“He was an idiot,” Williamson said. “I didn’t like him at all.”

Perry had three kids from previous relationships. He was fit and liked to surf, windsurf and kayak, neighbors said. But the Williamsons said they had several run-ins with their upstairs neighbor.

Perry was friendly, the Williamsons said, until their first run-in over an open-flame grill he bought and tried to use in violation of condo and city rules. Perry “exploded,” the couple said.

“He wouldn’t back off,” Ken Williamson said. “He just kept coming at you.”

There was another confrontation a few years later, Williamson said, over water spilling from his deck onto Perry’s empty parking spot below. Perry was livid when he pulled up, the neighbor said.

And when he was upset, the Williamsons said Perry often stomped on the floor above them. This time he knocked down a ceiling fan that Ken Williamson said almost hit his wife, Mary.

“He had a very bad temper,” Ken Williamson said. “You could barely talk to him if there was a problem.”

Rothwell was last seen leaving the Chili’s at 25987 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater around 3:30 p.m. Saturday. She told a friend that she was having “domestic issues.”

Rothwell missed a scheduled get-together later that night. The friend called the Sheriff’s Office on Sunday and asked them to check up on her. She wasn’t at the condo. Later that day deputies found her green 2007 Subaru Outback at a nearby Holiday Inn.

The Williamsons said detectives have been scouring the neighborhood questioning residents. Crime scene technicians pored over the condo Monday, they said.

Bailey said they are trying to track Rothwell’s cell phone and credit cards.

As for Perry, the Sheriff’s Office said he declined to speak to them by phone Sunday and again Monday when New York state detectives visited him. Bailey said they need to meet with him and won’t stop trying.

Bailey said there isn’t any reason to believe Rothwell went missing on her own, not in the middle of her police recruit training.

“She was very hyped up about it,” Bailey said. “She was very excited. She was a very good team leader in her class.”

Rothwell joined the Police Academy at the St. Petersburg College Allstate Center in November. Graduation is April 13.

The Williamsons said that the deputies warned them that time is of the essence.

“They said the longer she goes missing,” Ken Williamson said, “the worse it looks.”

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Praying Deputy Rothwell is found soon.

  • Jack_bauer_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I hope they find her safe, but her scum boyfriend looks like a prime suspect here.

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    My prayers are for her safe return.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    you know hes hiding something.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    The green eyed monster dressed in stupidity. He could not stand her success outshining his, therefore get rid of the competitive spirit that outshines your own. It is amazing the things done in the name of "love". I pray for her being found alive, but the longer it goes, the darker it gets.

  • Image_max50


    over 3 years ago


    It saddens me to see a person make a positive life change, only to have their dreams shattered by someone close to them who doesn't want to see them succeed. I hope and pray they find her safe, but the odds aren't in her favor at this point. Praying for her family as well ... I can't imagine what they're going through

  • Christmas_2010_038_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Good luck on this investigation. I will remain guardidly optomistic about a positive outcome. The boyfirends departure in conjunction with her disappearence is a giant red flag, but not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • P1010058_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Best of luck on getting her back.

  • Dante_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Very Sad, Pray they find her alive and in good health.

  • K9-wallpaper_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Praying for her.

  • Radio2_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I hope they find her.. If anything happens to her I think that guy should go to jail..

  • 2011_range_day_2-19-10_max50


    over 3 years ago


    This should be profiled on America's Most Wanted.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    Good Job barb! Some good old citizen policing. Sad to hear about this.

  • Th_detective_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Does not look good at all.......

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    This story makes me sick. Hope for the best; expect the worst because it's looking like so many others we're all too familiar with.

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