News >> Browse Articles >> Crime News


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.”

  • 179509_413913675314782_526027874_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I pray to God that they find Cadet Rothwell and soon!!! This is so so horrible and I have a very bad feeling that the boyfriend had something to do with her disappearance. For this young lady to join the Academy and be so excited about becoming a LEO is a wonderful thing for her to do with her life and now to disappear in the middle of training it terrible. i wouldn't back down from the boyfriend until he talks!!!!! May god watch over Cadet Rothwell and keep her safe!!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    I pray that Cadet Rothwell is found safe and unharmed. However this situation doesn't sound good. I believe the bf has the answers.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    If I was asked to profile this case, the kind of evidence already established and recognized by local LEO, are already significant indicators that foul play is involved. There are exigent circumstances here and the longer she is gone and live in BF has high tailied it out of state, along with recent history of domestic issues...not good! Any other good natured person in the same given situation with any amount of morality who has been that close to Cadet Kelly Rothwell, would be running BACK to help out with leads in the disappearance and show a little more concern for friends, family and classmates devastated by her diappearance...not the cowardly opposite. This woman deserves much more respect than that!

  • L_c90890b4134e494896bfb85cd590f2c1_max50


    over 3 years ago


    @ liljj

    suspeana... whats that???? :)

    Hope she returns home safe..

  • Policememorial---a_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Prayers that she will be found soon, alive and well.

  • File0106_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I also think the bf has something to do with this. I don't see a good ending coming from this. Can't you suspeana the bf to talk?

  • Bearcat_smoke-rgb_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I hope they find her safe.. My prayers go out to her family and friends.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    It just doesn't look like there will be a good ending to this. I suspect that the bf has some things to hide.

  • 15437_1266403054653_1067074389_873402_825427_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    My prayers are with her family and that she is found safe.

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Prayers for Cadet Rothwell's safe return, Stay Strong Sister
    Yeah I have to agree with all here, But will try to remain Positive, Hope they can pull the Weasel Boyfriend out of his hole soon, It's pretty clear he has the key here.
    Bump DD3

  • 1393794_10151798561878138_392793313_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Hope she is alive, otherwise would try to get Perry to talk using Jack Bauer's way. You cant fool with another fellow family -member's (law enforcement) like that.

  • Helicopter_max50


    over 3 years ago


    If Perry isn't guilty, he should really stop acting like he is.

  • 063_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I am praying for the safe return of Ms. Rothwell.....

  • L_59fe72e99fa891e59f62e6ceb62eca88_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Perry is an idiot......sounds like they got that right! This doesn't sound good at all, but I hope she is found soon.

  • 012_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Wow this sounds like another domestic violence case ending badly, I really hope Im wrong but looking at the facts of the case so far I dont think I am. I pray that they find her soon and that this POS starts cooperating. So sad

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a criminal justice degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.