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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.”

  • Ocp-me_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I hope everything turns out well for Kelly.

  • P3220084_max50


    over 3 years ago


    the boy friend sounds guilty if you ask me, not to point fingers or anything...

  • Avatar_max160_max160_max50


    over 3 years ago


    It's doesn't sound too promising. Perry is definitely a person of interest.

  • 000_0036_max50


    over 3 years ago


    This David Perry guy really seems to be a jerk! Being that he was in law enforcement he should know better! I agree, this doesn't look like it will have a happy ending. I just pray the I'm wrong!!

  • Maa_class_badge_max50


    over 3 years ago


    i Pray for her and her family. I hope this turns out for the better but 9 times out of 10 it doesn't- they need to go after the boyfriend...

  • Me__mr


    over 3 years ago


    This one really has a bad odor to it already. Prayers go out to Rothwell and her family for her safe return.

  • Csi_squirrle_max600_1__max50


    over 3 years ago


    I'm afraid there wont be a happy ending in this one.

  • 041105-o-9999g-012_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I agree 36TR.

  • Eagle_and_flag_max50


    over 3 years ago


    This already has an ugly familiarity to it. A missing girl and an uncooperative live-in. I pray that she is found and was only hiding from him.

  • Screen_shot_2011-04-10_at_8


    over 3 years ago


    I have to agree with wiseass0282. This truly does not sound promising. I pray that she is found safely and will do my best to stay positive. God speed my sister, stay strong, and know you are being looked for.

  • Plmb2s3sk_max600_max50


    over 3 years ago


    bump to wise, but I hope it ends well.

  • 12235_sq90_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I Pray she is found safe !

  • John_groh_max50


    over 3 years ago


    This does not sound good. I hope they locate her and she is OK. But I fear that will not be the case.

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