Kelly Rothwell

Kelly Rothwell
Much Loved Sister, Daughter, Friend

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Darlene Woo Speaks Out About David Perry

In January of 2016, Darlene Woo was shopping at her local store when a guy walked up to her and said Hi. He told her his name was Dave Walker, casually asked if she was married as he perused her left hand and then slipped her his phone number. "Text me sometime," he said. A few weeks later she did.

Darlene was getting ready to take a continuing education class in Corning and Dave Walker told her he went to Corning every day to the Y to work out. She dreaded the drive  up the formidable 'Corning Hill" so they made an arrangement that he would drive her to her class in her car,  he would go work out for the three hours while she was in class and then bring her home. It was an arrangement that really helped Darlene, as she hated driving to Corning. The classes ended and "Walker" started hanging around more and more., eventually making himself indispensable, so much so that he was eventually doing almost everything around her house for her.

"He shopped, he cooked, he cleaned, he made my front yard look beautiful, he walked my dog and was nice to him at first. ," Darlene said.  "His domestic and organizational skills were awesome, probably because of his OCD. He had amazing strength that was brought into play when laying landscaping bricks in the yard, mowing and weed wacking..things that would take me two days to do he would do in one- he was a machine. He was driven and would keep the vehicles immaculate. What single female wouldn't want a man doing that for her?"

But she began to notice some strange things that "Walker" was doing. He started to keep the dog from interacting with them. She caught him snapping the dog's nose with a towel. He began to call the dog a" mangy mutt" and seemed jealous of her attention to him.

"He always wanted me to sleep.(she works nights)and he would put dark towels or sheets over the windows. It made my house look so dark, like a cave. I did't really think too much of it; he told me it was to help me sleep. Many people questioned why the windows were draped as if he were afraid he was being watched He was in total control of what I ate and drank- he even packed my lunches for work... I hated them! He's go through my work bag ans question everything he found. I walked on eggshells in my own house so as not tuo enrage him...he would go from calm to rage in 0.7 seconds" 

But while she was sleeping, David "Walker" was using her computers,deleting texts from her friends and even sending  emails to her ex-husband, Dennis, who still remained good friends with her.
"Dennis and I have a nice close friendship so imagine my surprise when he asked me one day if I had sent these emails to him, saying that I had "married David Walker and to leave me alone!" I assured him that I did NOT send them and I definitely was NOT married to David. Dennis and I have stayed good friends even after our divorce and we talk all the time. Dennis just thought that was really weird."

Things started getting stranger and more controlling then for Darlene.

"Walker" took over ALL of the chores, doing dishes by hand, even though she had a nice dishwasher.  Soon he was ironing all of her clothes and doing all the shopping. He also cleaned .. everything.
"He was VERY OCD.. he vacuumed 2-3 times a day," she said.
She started to get a weird feeling about him, like something just wasn't right.He wouldn't let her do anything, including drink coffee. He told her it was bad for her and would make her tea instead.

"It seemed that all I had to do was sleep and breathe," she said.

What Darlene didn't recognize were the classic symptoms of a controlling personality disorder.
This "David Walker" was not only NOT who he said he was, he was David Perry, the suspected murderer of Kelly Rothwell from Indian Rocks Beach in Florida. And Darlene had no clue.

It wasn't until they went looking for pumpkins in late October of 2016 that everything came to a head. They were ambushed by the film crew of Crime Watch Daily, who had been working on a feature of Kelly Rothwell's disappearance and were hoping to get a reaction from Perry. Perry told Darlene to get in the car and took off, very agitated. Darlene asked him what that was all about and he fumbled saying it was all lies. Then he took out his cellphone, called the cell company and changed his cell phone number right there.

"He thought they might have tracked him by his GPS so he turned it off, " Darlene said.
Darlene ex husband Dennis got wind of the pumpkin patch  incident and started digging. What he came up with was shocking and he became very concerned for Darlene's safety.

"Dennis came over to the house the first week of November with all of these printed articles about David Perry and Dave was there. Dennis and I both asked him point blank  if he was the same guy in the articles about Kelly's murder. I couldn't believe it that I was THAT close to a murder suspect! Dennis told him to gather his things and then threw him out of the house. We had the locks changed right away. I told him to leave me alone and stay away from me."

Although she did hear from him by text after that, supposedly looking for some of his belongings, Darlene has NOW put that chapter behind her.She saw Perry's famous anger and abusive side several times and it scared her.
"I looked the Devil right in the eye,' she said.  "I have never seen someone get so angry so fast."

Darlene Woo is lucky.. she didn't become a "victim" of David Perry. But he was well on his way to controlling her life, much as he did with Kelly, sequestering her from her family and friends, even from her dog, ..doing everything for her so she would become dependent on him and then erupting in a rage when challenged. Darlene was the lucky one....  She got away alive.  It could have been very a  different ending for her.  Very different indeed...

Meanwhile Kelly Rothwell is STILL missing and her murderer walks free. She deserves justice.

Please listen to the Podcast on Kelly's case,it is my interview with my friend Ed Dentzel, the owner and producer of the podcast "UNFOUND " It's a two part series. Thanks,  Leigh   

Here are the links to Kelly's story:

Sunday, March 12, 2017


Six years ago, a bright, beautiful. talented and kind woman, Kelly Rothwell was murdered in her Indian Rocks Beach condo by a man she thought she knew. A man she thought she loved and who loved her back. But David Perry's love was the killing kind... and Kelly never stood a chance... or saw it coming.

Kelly Rothwell, by all accounts from friends, family and co-workers, was a funny, intelligent woman who followed many paths during her short 35 years on this earth. She was a passionate animal lover, a Human Resources specialist, an artist, a geologist with a love of crystals and all things spiritual. Her most recent career objective at the time of her murder, was that of Police Officer. Kelly's foray into the world of law enforcement was a departure from her usual interests, yet she excelled in her law enforcement curriculum as she did with ALL of her career choices, because of her innate sense of right and wrong and in this case,  her empathy for the victim. Unfortunately, we will never really know if this sense of justice came from her first hand experience with David Perry's controlling, manipulative and increasingly abhorrent behavior towards her. Or did Kelly  jump into this new career BECAUSE of what David Perry was doing to her at home? Did she fight back the only way she could, by putting him on notice that as a cop, she would be much less of a victim of his vindictive and progressively suppressive behavior?

 But IF Perry HAD planned Kelly's murder, he had the element of surprise on Saturday afternoon March 12, 2011. Kelly was coming home to "talk" but I believe Perry laid in wait for her to get into the front door, attacked her from behind as she went into their bedroom, and strangled her there. I think he then wrapped her up in the inner shower curtain (which was missing), put her body in a sail bag, stuffed her in the trunk of his blue Honda and drove all night, WITH HER BODY IN THE TRUNK, back to Elmira, New York, where he had a home, where he felt safe, where he KNEW that Florida law enforcement would NEVER look or suspect that someone would be so brazen. And where Perry had friends; friends he KNEW would help him dispose of Kelly's body, because he had INFORMATION on those "friends" that could put them both in jail. Perry knew all this and counted on it.

It has always been my firm belief that David Perry planned to kill Kelly Rothwell that Saturday afternoon. He had hacked her phone and her emails and knew she was leaving him; for a new career path that would possibly jeopardize his 'business" interests and for a new person in her life . Kelly was making room for new people and new experiences and Perry was not part of the equation. To a man so Obsessive/Compulsive and with major anger issues including domestic abuse (documented by Elmira law enforcement ) a woman leaving him would have wounded his fragile ego. I also felt that he saw Kelly as a threat; Kelly had told her sister Lindsay that she "caught" Perry at something illegal and that he had "promised" to stop. According to Perry's ex-wife Luanna, during their tumultuous 10 year marriage, Perry had regularly run marijuana and other drugs from Elmira, New York to Florida, picking up contraband to take back to New York. Also according to Perry's ex-wife, he was funded by some well-connected "businessmen", possibly in the restaurant business in Elmira.
Which brings me to this next interesting piece of information....

 In November of last year, Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen  picked up Kelly's story and produced a segment on it; it aired on Election day, November 8th, 2016.  For that story, veteran Crime Watch Daily reporter Andrea Isom and her film crew flew up to Elmira, New York to interview David Perry about Kelly Rothwell's "disappearance". They tracked Perry down; he was seen with a woman in an SUV at a pumpkin patch in late October  2016 when the show was filming Kelly's segment. When they tried to speak with them, he ran away like a little girl.He screamed at the woman to get into the car and threatened Isom and the film crew, before angrily driving away. Perry has a history of running like a coward  from law enforcement and anyone else who wants to ask him about Kelly, so that wasn't out of character for him.

Its now believed that that woman was Darleen Woo, who divorced Simon Woo's brother in 2015. Simon and his brother had owned a very well-known Chinese restaurant in the Elmira/Horseheads area and there has always been talk around town that Perry was somehow involved with some sort  of "business" with the owners. Now Perry is living with Darlene Woo, in a cozy home on Meadowbrook Parkway, (a home Darlene got in the divorce) on a quiet suburban street where people play with their kids in the yard, feet from a suspected murderer. I wonder if they know who he is? Does she realize that she too could be in danger if she crosses him? How could ANY woman sleep next to a suspected murderer, the ONLY suspect in the disappearance and probably murder of Kelly Rothwell? How could she IGNORE all of the strange signs and weird behavior. Maybe the relationship is still in the early lovey- dovey stages, and she just hasn't seen the real Perry yet.

I find it appalling that this man is living the high life, while Kelly Rothwell,the #1 "love of his life "
 ("Yummy wife" #2 Melissa Walker was the 'love of his life' until she divorced him after the pressure on him about Kelly's case became too much for her to deal with). AND he's living with the ex-wife of someone who law enforcement have speculated was possibly involved in a shady business, not related to the restaurant his family then owned.  (It has since been sold.)

Perry has always seemed to find women with property, money or both, that take him in and prop him up. He charms them, buys them pretty things like flowers and clothing, cleans their homes. Eventually, he begins to sequester them, from their friends, their family and their social media. He wants them to depend on HIM, no one else. He becomes increasingly controlling, manipulative, demanding.  Of these women, only Kelly was murdered by him, we think. Could he have done this before? He told his ex-wife Luanna that if she left him, he would put her in a wood-chipper and dump her body parts in the Chemung River. He told Kelly if she ever left him, he would throw her body in the Gulf of Mexico. But what if he DID throw her body in water?

A source has recently come forward that may have information on that very premise. I have always maintained that Perry killed Kelly, put her body in the trunk of his car and drove it up to Elmira , New York the night he killed her. I also suspect that he contacted at least TWO friends, one is Sammy Karam, a retired prison guard who had a house on Seneca Lake. The Karams and Darlene Wu are also good friends as are their kids.. Go figure. Such a tangled web Perry has woven...

The information involves a boat with an inboard and a trolling motor, a very heavy bag containing Kelly's body and three people; two of Perry's friends, one possibly a fisherman who knows the lake very well, another friend and Perry himself, who loaded Kelly's body onto the boat and motored out onto Seneca Lake. Perry may have originally pondered dropping Kelly's body by the dam but felt it wasn't deep enough. He chose the deeper Seneca Lake instead.
The boat used was pushed from the shore right into the water.. and traveled for about 25-30 minutes up towards Watkins Glen State Park, where there is a boat ramp, From there, the source says that Perry and his accomplices traveled an additional 15-20 minutes up the lake from the park's lake entrance. They rolled a very heavy bag (remember I always said that Kelly's geodes, those heavy crystal rocks that she collected were NEVER found) which I believe contained both Kelly's body and the crystals off of the boat which sunk in some of the deepest water of Seneca Lake. One thing that Perry didn't figure that night, was that someone possibly saw him and  may have the coordinates of where Kelly's body is.
This spring, Nancy Rothwell has decided that the lake should be searched, using those coordinates.
A well-known Sonar company has offered to do the search and recovery; more information will be available about that in the coming months...

Nancy Rothwell is determined to find justice for her daughter Kelly. She is encouraged by this new information and  feels David Perry is a dangerous and malignant threat to society.
"I hope that anyone involved with him understands the darkness and depravity that is David Perry.  In fact, I was thinking this morning, why did he have to take  my daughter's life when all he could have done was just leave. If she had something on him, why didn't he just leave and go back to New York,? Kelly would have never pursued anything against him and would probably never even held any ill will against him. That just wasn't her. He totally took advantage of her generous nature and beautiful soul. She had a kind heart and loved life. If you met her once, she touched your life forever. And he took that away.  But what he can't take away is her gentle and peaceful spirit."

So on this day, the sad anniversary of a promising young life snuffed out by a  controlling, manipulative coward, we wait and hope for Spring and the search of Seneca Lake, Maybe the lake will give Kelly up and put David Perry, her killer, behind bars forever. We can only hope so. Meanwhile, I hope that Darlene Woo watches her back... she's living with a suspected murderer. I hope that she cares enough about herself to get away from him like Melissa Walker did.. Kelly tried, but he wouldn't let her go.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

She Would Have Been 41 Today......

While other people all over the world celebrated the Christmas and the New Year holidays with their loved ones, families and friends, Kelly Rothwell didn't.  She couldn't.... because she's "missing" and presumed dead, and her loser ex-con  ex-boyfriend David Perry is and HAS been the ONLY suspect in her disappearance.  While Kelly's family and friends still grieve her monumental loss, Perry walks around a free man. There is such little justice in that.

Kelly would have been 41 today.. she would have probably been working as a police officer, doing what she did best...helping and protecting people. But there was no one to protect her from David Perry.
Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Kelly Rothwell, I have learned so much about her, from her mother Nancy, her sisters Lauren and Lindsay and her friends from all Maryland, Colorado, Montana and beyond.
I talked with Nancy Rothwell, Kelly's mom, today. I call her on this day every year and on holidays and sometimes just to say Hi. She was naturally sad but she has such a kind spirit and loving way, it's easy to see how Kelly must have been just like her.

"It's always there, you know," she answered when I asked her how she was today.. this day.. Kelly's birthday.
 "You start to think back, about her birth, different birthdays and the things we did. But I try and remember the good memories.. and nobody can take that away. But it's never easy..." her voice trailed off for a moment.

Nancy told me about something that happened yesterday. She got a note in the mail with a post card attached from a woman she used to work with at the school board. It was a post card that Kelly had written to Nancy many years ago, when she was in Montana for work. The card was a photo of Yellowstone with a nice message from Kelly and Nancy had pinned it up on the wall at her desk where she worked. She has since retired and her colleague found it stuck between a cubicle wall.
It made Nancy think about the timing of it all..
"Think about that," she told me. "I get this postcard from Kelly in the mail the night before her birthday. To me it was like she was telling me don't forget about me.. I'm still here and I love you.
It was like a gift from Kelly.."

Nancy also told me that while she was grateful for the show Crime Watch Daily that featured Kelly's case in early November, she was very disappointed that they never showed David Perry's face.
"They should have shown him running away when they ambushed him at that pumpkin patch. I was really hoping that they would have shown what a coward he is. He ALWAYS runs when he sees the cops or a camera."

Perry was seen with a woman in an SUV at a pumpkin patch in late October when the show was in Elmira, NY filming Kelly's segment. When they tried to speak with him, he ran away like a little girl, screaming at the camera crew and threatening the show with a lawsuit.

So today we have one birthday wish for Kelly Rothwell; that we can bring her home to her family.

Actually make that TWO wishes.. that David Perry be tried and convicted for her murder. He knows he did it; WE know he did it and yet he still walks around a free man. I would just say, possibly not for long though  Perry.. watch your back, you low rent, scum sucking chicken shit piece of excrement...we haven't forgotten and we won't give up.

Meanwhile, Kelly Rothwell is still missing.

Happy Birthday Kelly Rothwell. You deserve Justice.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016





CRIME WATCH DAILY with CHRIS HANSEN to Feature Kelly Rothwell's Case on Nov 8th at 2 PM on CW 44

Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen will be featuring Kelly Rothwell's case today on their program. It will air on the CW 44 at 2 pm. Hansen is well known for his To Catch a Predator series on NBC's Dateline, his coverage of the Columbine shootings, Oklahoma City terrorist attack and most of the coverage for Dateline of the September 11th attacks on America.
Kelly Rothwell has been missing and presumed dead for five years. For ALL of those five years I have been writing this blog to keep her story alive, to bring justice to her family and to put David Perry, who killed Kelly, in jail for her murder for the rest of his miserable life.

Last month, the Bring Kelly Rothwell Home page was contacted by Segment Producer Ann Toler, who saw my blog, among other information and wanted to do a story on Kelly. I immediately got back to Toler, who is in LA and we scheduled an interview. In addition to  my interview with Andrea Isom, a journalist for Crime Watch Daily, Nancy Rothwell, Kelly's mother, sisters Lauren, Lindsay and Kristen were also interviewed for the segment. Kelly's friend Donna gave an interview as did Mike Bailey, the former Homicide Detective , who worked on Kelly's case before retiring, John Dressback, who was the then-administrator of the Police Cadet Program of which Kelly was a part, was also contacted.Kudos to the Pinellas County Sheriff's office for letting the show interview Det. Bailey. They were to interview DA Brooks Baker, but I won't know if they did until the show airs....

In my interview, I told Andrea that I thought that David Perry strangled Kelly, put her in a kite sail bag and drove with her body in his car up to Elmira the same night , March 12, 2011 , that he killed her. To this day I still believe that her body is NOT in Florida, but either in New York or possibly Oklahoma, where Perry also visited after he fled Florida.

I am very grateful to the show for featuring Kelly's case and hope that someone will see it and remember something, or feel guilty enough to give up some information.

I only hope that this blog, the radio Podcast I did 2 weeks ago on Itunes and Podomatic and the show itself will keep Kelly's name out there. We appreciate the interest and the attention.

Kelly deserves that!

Thank you!
Leigh Clifton

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Kelly Rothwell's Story Featured on Podcast "Unfound" by Ed Dentzel/ Our Interview

Several  weeks ago I was approached by a man named Ed Dentzel about Kelly's case. Dentzel has a Podcast called "Unfound" which focuses on missing persons in the US. Dentzel, who moved to Florida from Las Vegas in late 2011,after Kelly's disappearance, found Kelly's case after he started doing research on missing persons in Pinellas County. Dentzel has had a fascination with missing persons cases and remembers at the age of 6 watching "In search Of" with the late Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy. That started his lifelong passion with Star Trek, science fiction and disappearances.He is also a self professed student on plane crashes, something he admits is a bit morbid but still can recite what year a crash happened, the make and model of the plane, area where it crashed and the number of fatalities.He's a self published author on Amazon and has 4 science fiction novels. His latest is Distant. He also has written a trilogy, Govicide, that you should check out.

 In April of 2016, Dentzel co-founded a radio show called Americas Missing Podcast with another researcher, but creative differences made him realize that he wanted to do his own show.He wanted to have a different approach. He added a theme to every show and whenever possible, interviewed people who were actually close or part of the case. He toned down speculation and sensationalism  that a lot of crime shows use to titillate the audience. He was looking to create more of a  "news magazine" that was a less-conjectural and more interactive- type news medium engaging the listeners in the hope that they might help with these unsolved cases.The show "Unfound" was born. It is unscripted, although he does do an outline of questions. The questions are generally open ended and allow for a great discussion of a case. Then he found Kelly Rothwell's case.

"I found your blog and was impressed that there was an actual site that was dedicated to a case like Kelly's," Dentzel told me. "This case felt very personal to me; I live about 4 miles from where Kelly did in Indian Rocks Beach ( he's in Madeira Beach) and the bridge where they found her car is right around the corner from my house. I  had started to research Pinellas County missing cases and Kelly's was the first one I saw. It really touched me and I wanted to work on it. You had a ton of information and I wanted to showcase all the research that's been done on Kelly's case to date."

When Dentzel contacted me, he had already done 8 shows shows for 7 cases, ( one show was split into two parts) and has received great feedback from Itunes and Podomatic, where the show can be accessed. I will provide the link at the bottom for both, PLEASE go and listen and leave feedback, on either Itunes, Podomatic or BOTH.

Kelly's case is still ongoing and I have always said that I will never stop looking for her and bring her home to her family, That has ALWAYS been my main objective. It is also a promise I made to her mother Nancy. I also have said that I will NEVER STOP trying to bring David Perry, the ONLY suspect in her "disappearance" and probable murder to justice.
Please listen to this podcast.. It's a bit long but well worth it.

My sincerest gratitude goes to Ed Dentzel for giving Kelly's case another platform to get her story out to the public. I want to thank him for the chance to be interviewed and tell the public what's been happening on the case and what I've been trying to do to help put David Perry in jail.  My interview with Ed was a long one but there is a LOT of information after 5 years of researching Kelly's "disappearance" and probable murder. I'm still looking.....

Someone knows something.
Meanwhile, Kelly Rothwell is STILL missing.'
Lets's bring her home.

 Links to the broadcast:


Please sign up at ITUNES to subscribe to Ed Dentzel's podcast series "UNFOUND" and listen for more podcasts of missing persons and support independent researchers like Ed and myself!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

What Did Kelly Rothwell Know About David Perry's "Business"?

There has been much speculation as to why David Perry would kill his then- girlfriend Kelly Rothwell on March 12, 2011, after she came to break up with him that Saturday afternoon. Some have floated that he was jealous and possessive, controlling and violent. By all accounts and police reports in his past, he was all that and more.

But by the time Kelly Rothwell came home that late afternoon, David Perry had already met Melissa Walker, a National Guardsman Reservist in Las Vegas, online on Craig's List, had already visited out west where she lived, WHILE he was still supposedly with Kelly and was already planning a life with Melissa.Although Melissa Walker insists that she met Perry AFTER Kelly went missing, there is no evidence either way.  Perry had told the gym where he worked out that he was moving to Hawaii; this was two weeks BEFORE Kelly went "missing". Coincidentally, (or not) Melissa Walker was scheduled to be stationed at Tripler Army Medical Center, IN HAWAII, shortly after Perry gave the gym notice, stating that "we" were moving to Hawaii.
Why then, were there tickets to Utah in Kelly and Perry's name for a job interview for Kelly in Human Resources at a posh resort?Why were there emails supposedly  from Kelly to the Director of the resort, asking about onsite health club benefits, housing and health care for both her AND her "fiance"? Were they engaged? If so, Kelly never mentioned it. Could Perry have been setting something up?

Meanwhile, Kelly had still been applying at several local police departments in anticipation of graduating from the St. Petersburg Police Academy in April,2011. One has to wonder if it might have been David Perry all along who was sending out Kelly's resumes to various resorts around the country, including out west, where Melissa Walker, his Craig's List love interest was living. He was known to have hacked her computer and email accounts and tried to maintain as much control over her as possible.

It appears that there were two totally disparate directions that Kelly appeared to be moving in. At the exact time, according to her personal emails, she was sending resumes to both resorts AND police departments. This seems to make little sense unless she  herself was hedging her bets for employment. But what if she wasn't? By all accounts from the cadets that Kelly was in class with, she was passionate about her police work and was looking to become more involved in the domestic violence aspect of  law enforcement. Was this because she herself was being abused at home by Perry?

One  plausible explanation could be that Perry was attempting to steer Kelly away from her law enforcement career because she knew too much about his dealings. According to Perry's ex-wife Luana Greenfield, Perry, who was a Corrections Officer at the Elmira prison at the time, was caught growing pot in his basement when the police were called out to a domestic violence dispute at their Elmira home.Sources within the Elmira police department confirm this. Yet the case never went to trial; the charges suddenly went away. Luana also stated that Perry smoked pot almost every day and had been friends who were known drug dealers. One particular person,  Jeff Lavelle, a former Corrections officer at Elmira, was caught with a felony amount of cocaine in his car after he flipped it on a back road outside of town. He and Perry were friends. There was even a source who said that Perry was actually in the car at the time with another corrections officer and that both took off so as not to get caught.

Fairly early in their relationship,Kelly had intimated to her family that Perry was involved in "something big" and that she told him she would leave him if he didn't stop. She told her sister that he "promised" that he would. But according to a family member,he didn't and Kelly was very upset about it. Given Perry's alleged history with drugs and Kelly's enrollment in the police academy, could he have been trying to steer her away from law enforcement to protect his business dealings?

There has also been speculation that Perry saw Kelly as a perfect "mark"; she had a rented condo in Florida and Florida was full of sun and fun for Perry, who fancied himself "Mr. Beach". A fanatic for fitness, Perry trained all the time; running, riding his bike and lifting weights at the gym. All this while being "disabled."
Could he have sensed that day he met her at Sweet Tomatoes that she could be the perfect "home" base, complete with beach condo, pretty girl. sun and fun? The only glitch being that Kelly, originally in Human Resources when Perry and she first met, had decided to take a different path in her life, instead going into Law Enforcement, with emphasis on Domestic Violence issues. Could that have sent Perry scrambling to cover his tracks? Could that have led him to kill her and take her body to New York, where he had numerous places to hide her, including the compost heap at the Elmira Jail, several hundred acres of wooded land that he used to hunt on and the Chemung River. What about Seneca Lake? Perry has a good friend whose owns a house on the lake and has a boat there as well.. Seneca Lake is 603 feet deep; so deep that the sheriffs who patrol it have sonar on their rescue boats. According to one source, Perry contacted that friend right after he got into town on the 13th. The large, heavy geodes that Kelly collected were never found.. could they have been used to weigh down, lets say, a sail kite bag, with Kelly's body in it?

We'll never know, because at that time Kelly Rothwell had been "missing" for 17 months and Perry,  who was in prison at the time, on Fraud relates charges, wasn't  talking.
Since then Perry is out of jail, still living in New York and 5 YEARS later  Kelly Rothwell is still missing.
She and her family deserve justice; David Perry deserves life in prison.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Five Years On, A Murderer Walks Among Us and Still No Word on Kelly Rothwell

Its been five long, torturous years for the family of Kelly Rothwell. Since March 12th of 2011, their daughter and sister has been missing from her Indian Rocks Beach home; a home that she shared with an abusive, psychotic and everyone believes, murderous man named David Perry.
Kelly, by all accounts, was a loving, caring, charismatic woman; a woman ready to devote herself to the service of others as a police woman. A woman who today should have been able to call her mother Nancy, if she wanted, a woman who should have been laying on a beach on this Saturday, enjoying her life with friends with a cocktail and a laugh.

Instead, she is "out there".... somewhere, wherever David Perry, who killed her on a Saturday afternoon, much like this one, put her body after he brutally attacked her in their beach condo after she told him she had had enough. She had had enough of his controlling, manipulative emotional and some say physical abuse. She stood up for herself. She stood up to HIM. And he killed her for it.
 I have always surmised that he killed her, he wrapped her body in the shower curtain, he put her in a sail kite bag and threw her in the back of his blue Honda. He packed her geodes; the large cliced -in-half  rock formations that Kelly loved and collected for the crystals inside.  (they were never found) He took off for Elmira New York, his boyhood home, where he KNEW the Pinellas County Sheriff's office would NOT look. He called his friend Sammy Karem and possibly Mike Dean, BOTH of who had houses in Seneca Lake, the DEEPEST lake in New York at 633 feet. Perry had worked at Elmira Correctional with both as a Corrections officer. See, he knew enough about the law that if NO BODY was found, the possibility of prosecution would be almost nil. He KNEW that the Pinellas County Sheriff's office didn't have the manpower, the resources or even the inclination(?) to look up in New York for Kelly's body. He KNEW they would never find her. He's STILL counting on that.  At 633 feet Lake Seneca would need to be viewed or searched with sonar... it COULD be done...

After Perry was arrested ,charged  tried and convicted of grand larceny and fraud, stemming from a lie about an injury he didn't have on a "Red Dot" call about an unruly prisoner he was never supposed to answer, Perry was released last September from Clinton Correctional. He has kept contact with a woman named Chelsea Plummer, someone he supposedly met while answering an ad about puppies when he was in between trials.
PUPPIES?? Really Perry? You can't even be a father to your kids, you beat the crap out of them AND your ex wife, you were HATED by everyone you worked with at Elmira, everyone IN Elmira hates you and you think you could impress a girl about puppies??? Yup , well it worked... apparently Ms. Plummer , who is almost 30 years Perry's junior, was impressed enough with him to date him while he was out of jail during his first mistrial. She's been to his house at 1708 Church Street. She's seen photos of who she thought was Kelly in a drawer. When she asked Perry about it , he grabbed them from her in a pissy fit. He told her he didn't HAVE any children .. UMMMMM  .... what about the FOUR you have??? Little Davey, Brittney, Brandy and don't forget Emily, the one he secretly had with a prison guard at the prison.. OOPS.. Condoms really should be your friend , Dave.... BOOM.
 Interestingly, he  also told her his name was DAVID WALKER.. (ring any bells people???) and that he worked for the phone company...  ANOTHER LIE  from a man who wouldn't know the truth if it smacked him in the balls... which I fervently hope  happens at some point in this miserable, murderous, low-life's life... I personally told Chelsea Plummer to RUN AWAY from Perry. I seriously doubt that she listened. She has her own theories about Kelly's murder, but they're hers and I'll let her tell them.. Perry might be very interested....

The Pinellas  County Sheriff's office has no new leads; they haven't even kept ANY family members informed and I STILL have to ask WHY NOT? Why, when they were given names and possible leads, didn't they follow them up? Why, when the New York State police, who provided MORE clues and and insight about Kelly's case (and it's not even THEIR case) didn't PCSO do any follow up? OH YES, they went up there and poked around, but seriously after three years at that point, did they REALLY think they would find anything NOW? They should have called on Sammy Karem the DAY they were given the information.. and they WERE given the info, because I DID THE RESEARCH MYSELF. They should have checked out Mike Dean too, although that info came in MUCH later.... Sources tell me that Sammy LIED about talking to Perry when he was FINALLY questioned by police.. BIG SURPRISE there.....that Sammy talked with Perry a LOT more that just an initial contact when Perry arrived in Elmira on March 14th with Kelly's body in the truck of his car.

I know, I know, this is Kelly's day.. and it IS Kelly's day.. only its the DAY OF HER MURDER and I don't want ANYONE to forget that .. or HER.. If it takes talking about Perry for people to remember, then I'll do just that. I'm not blowing smoke up any so-called "friends" ass about ribbons, rainbows and shining lights.. this is a murder of a beautiful young woman and it deserves to be solved.
Kelly deserves justice and her family deserves peace. David Perry, on the other hand, deserves the electric chair, or hanging or whatever other method New York State offers to murderers.

So to Kelly's family, I think of you daily and I hope that by keeping this blog going, we keep Kelly's name in the public eye.  It is my sincerest hope that David Perry convicted for your murder.

To Kelly, you deserve justice and to come home.  We owe you that Kelly....
we owe you that.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

She Would Have Been 40 Today...

She would have been 40 today... Kelly Rothwell, who has been "missing" since March 12, 2011 and presumed murdered by her then-boyfriend David Perry, would have been celebrating her 40th birthday today. Instead of making plans for a raucous life celebration and party tonight with her friends, celebrating a milestone in which most people usually take stock of their life and it's directions, Kelly is instead...nowhere... missing...."disappeared" vanished...
On a day when she would have probably been a proud member of a police force, possibly on a task force for abused women that she showed great interest in, she is just.... gone...

Her killer, David Perry, walks free after a minimal jail term in New York for a fraud conviction, NOT for her disappearance and probable murder. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??
How is it possible that a Police Cadet well-liked by her peers at the St. Pete Police Academy, could NOT warrant a big enough search response to her disappearance by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) or her fellow Police Cadets? They did such a cursory search for her body; the CUE Center spent more time looking for Kelly than both the PCSO AND the Academy Cadets.

How is it that virtually NOTHING has been done on this case in more than THREE years?
Even with some key information that the New York State police turned over to the PCSO, nothing was followed up on with any major effort

Kelly's family remains in the dark to this day.. to say that the PCSO has been a BIT lax in keeping them informed would be an UNDERSTATEMENT of HUGE proportions. Nancy Rothwell, Kelly's mother, hasn't heard from them in 4 years now. FOUR YEARS without an update, without even an ASSURANCE that they are still on Kelly's case?

No one is even sure who the detectives are on the case.. I was told that Detective Mike Bailey retired; Nancy Rothwell called the PCSO and they told her he was now on patrol beat. Really?  A respected detective with a commendably  HIGH Homicide case closure rate now on patrol? Doesn't make sense. We can only assume that Detective Amy Plourde Booth, Bailey's partner at the time of Kelly's disappearance, is still working on the case. Nancy, Kelly Mom, has never heard back from her after several phone calls.

But what makes even LESS sense is WHY David Perry is walking around free.

Kelly should be getting ready to go out tonight with friends, celebrating her life.

Instead, we are still mourning her loss, not knowing where David Perry put her body.
Someone out there knows something....
Do the right thing and step up for this wonderful family whose hearts have such a gaping hole in them...

Meanwhile, Kelly Rothwell is STILL missing...

~Happy Birthday Kelly~

Friday, March 13, 2015

Four Long Years and Still NO Trace of Kelly Rothwell

It's been four long years since St. Pete Police Cadet Kelly Rothwell went missing after going home after lunch with a friend on a Saturday afternoon to tell her then boyfriend David Perry that she was breaking up with him. 

She was never heard from again.

Perry took off for his hometown of Elmira New York in a rush  later that Saturday and has never answered questions about Kelly's disappearance, nor granted a police interview. Neighbors who lived below the couple reported hearing several loud thumps on their ceiling, then frenetic vacuuming before Perry left hurriedly.  Three months later he married Melissa Walker, an Army Reservist he supposedly met on Craig's List, meeting her briefly in Hawaii to marry her, take her last name, then return to Elmira New York.  Walker divorced Perry a year later, but not before defending him as a "sweet, kind and caring, thoughtful person." 

Kelly was much more than a missing police cadet; she was a sister to Lauren, Lindsay and Kristen, daughter to Nancy and Tom, Aunt to Alex, Hollie and Hannah, ex-wife to Doug, and countless friend to so many... those who grew up and went to school with her in Maryland, those she worked with and was friends with in West Virginia and Colorado and the people whose lives she touched in Florida... Kelly had an impact on so many.

Today the Pinellas County Sheriff's office is no closer to finding Kelly than they were 4 years ago. A perfunctory search of the local area led to little clues and it always boggled everyone that there was not a more strident and thorough search done. After all, Kelly was one of their own, a fellow cadet, soon to be a graduate and out among her peers. But a breakfast held for her to raise money to pay for additional search and rescue efforts fell pathetically flat: and only one of her fellow cadets bothered to even show up.

I have and will always maintain that David Perry, laying in wait for Kelly to come home, killed her as she entered their shared beach-front condo and then, after a frantic cleaning of the condo including bleach and antiseptic chemicals, took Kelly's lifeless body, put her in a canvas sail bag, placed her in the trunk and took off WITH her body to Elmira, New York, his hometown. 

Many people including local law enforcement here in Florida have denigrated this idea, theorizing that NO ONE would drive ALL the way to New York with a body in the trunk. But I think he did; he knew that if there was NO body, there was NO case, at least in Florida. And he was right. He was a former Corrections Officer at a prison, he knows the ropes, knew not to answer ANY questions and ran like a coward when approached by law enforcement. He went back to an area he knew very well, places where he had hunted and fished all his life. I believe Kelly is up there. I believe that she is somewhere on or near the Catherine Trail, a place that Perry was known to have frequented AFTER he moved back home. According to sources, he went there OFTEN.... Being a control freak and OCD sufferer, Perry likes to control every situation and this would be no different. He had a friend with a boat on Lake Seneca, it was his bailiwick and he KNEW that Florida law enforcement  had neither the manpower nor the belief that he could ever do such a thing... drive with the body of the woman who was his 'soul-mate"... the "love of his life" etc etc.
I would bet the farm he did just that. And he's getting away with it.

But not TOTALLY away.. he sits in a jail cell at Clinton, in upstate New York, convicted on Work Comp related fraud charges in two different counties. Sadly although both convictions were a triumph for New York law enforcement, (who by the way, ALL think he killed Kelly and some believe that he brought he up there as well,) Perry received two sentences that were concurrent instead of consecutive. He has at least two years and maybe more before he is eligible for parole.

This is NOT enough time served for a psychopath that killed a beautiful, talented, spirited and loved woman named Kelly Rothwell. Who knows? I know that NO strain of conscience will suddenly make him confess; he has neither soul NOR conscience. He has a violent past, a history of abuse to family, wives and girlfriends. How poignant it is to me that Kelly wanted to make domestic violence a concentration in her law enforcement career. 

So today we sadly commemorate another year gone by without Kelly Rothwell in this world. Her mother Nancy sent me this:
"On this day, March 12, the fourth anniversary of my beautiful daughter Kelly's disappearance, I weep in silence. Four long years of not being able to feel her warm embrace, not being able to have a mother/daughter chat on the phone, hear her adorable giggle or just catch up on what's going on. Kelly was a loving daughter, a caring sister and aunt and a devoted friend to many. She was always a radiant light bringing incredible joy and happiness to her family and friends. This world most definitely lost a wonderful person that day, but what gets me through this wrenching loss is that I know she is one of God's most precious angels... a quote from Rose Kennedy, a mother who suffered many losses in her lifetime-
'It has been said that 'time heals all wounds'... I do  not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.' "

I heard a song today on the radio by James Blunt, called Carry You Home..I thought of Kelly through tears. I pray that her spirit is never forgotten.

                                                           "Carry You Home"

Trouble is her only friend and he's back again.
Makes her body older than it really is.
She says it's high time she went away,
No one's got much to say in this town.
Trouble is the only way is down.
Down, down.
As strong as you were, tender you go.
I'm watching you breathing for the last time.
A song for your heart, but when it is quiet,
I know what it means and I'll carry you home.
I'll carry you home.
If she had wings she would fly away,
And another day God will give her some.
Trouble is the only way is down.
Down, down.
As strong as you were, tender you go.
I'm watching you breathing for the last time.
A song for your heart, but when it is quiet,
I know what it means and I'll carry you home.
I'll carry you home.
And they were all born pretty in New York City tonight,
And someones little girl was taken from the world tonight,
Under the Stars and Stripes.
As strong as you were, tender you go.
I'm watching you breathing for the last time.
A song for your heart, but when it is quiet,
I know what it means and I'll carry you home.
I'll carry you home.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


 David Perry, the only suspect in the disappearance and probably murder of St. Pete Police Academy Cadet Kelly Rothwell has plead guilty in his second trial for fraud and grand larceny in Steuben County New York Court today. Perry was sentenced to 4 1/2 -12 1/2 years to run concurrently with the Broome County sentence of 4-15 years. Unfortunately, Steuben District Attorney Brooks Baker was unable to get the consecutive sentences, which would have kept Perry in jail for a much longer period of time.

 Perry also forfeited all of the vehicles AND the more than $120,000.00 seized when he was re -arrested at his Elmira home March 13,2012  a year and a day after Kelly went missing and he presumable killed her.

The duplicate set of charges stemmed from a 2003 Work Comp related accident in which Perry claimed to have been injured while helping to subdue a prisoner. The offenses were prosecuted in both counties because the NY State Pensions Fund was located in one, and the bank where the money was deposited from the Pension Fund was located in the other.

But what does this mean for the Pinellas County Sheriff's investigation into Kelly's disappearance? When I called to speak to Det. Mike Bailey, I was told he had retired and the case now belonged to Det. Amy Plourde, who had partnered with him on the case from the start 4 years ago.  As of this writing I am waiting for a call back from Det. Plourde as to what, if any, developments have may have surfaced to help find Kelly or the person who, in all probability, murdered her.

Detectives in New York, who worked tirelessly on getting Perry convicted on the fraud charges all think that Perry killed Kelly Rothwell, but without a body as evidence, the chances are very slim that Perry would ever be brought to trial for her murder. They had tried to provide the Pinellas detectives with as much information about Perry's movement once he got to New York as they could. According to a source, that information was either not utilized or not followed up on with much conviction; whether it was time or distance, no one can be sure.

Craig Mosher, a retired C.O. who worked with Perry and was a catalyst in bringing Perry's fraud to authorities attention had this to say;
"I hadn't heard much about him lately , but this (conviction) is good news. Unfortunately, he will never say a word  about Kelly or what happened to her. He's not that stupid. He knows that if he keeps quiet and they never find her, he'll get away with it."

I have always maintained that Perry took her body to New York him the night he killed her in the condo they shared on Indian Rocks Beach. After a lot of research, my conclusion is based on the fact that he is a control freak; a narcissist who always wants to be in command of any situation. I think he took her to New York because he knew the Pinellas County Sheriff's office had neither the manpower or the resources to look for her up there. And really, where would they even start? Perry WAS tracked to Ohio and Oklahoma by NY State police. But where he went after that is a mystery. Could he have met up with his old friend Jeff,  an ex correction officer ,who had a major drug conviction and was living in Arizona? Could he have had help from any of his other friends in Elmira? One of them has a house on Lake Seneca; that lake is 623 feet deep... he has a boat.. he and Perry worked together at the Elmira Correctional Facility. According to sources, Perry called him when he got into Elmira  later that night, AFTER he had left Florida in a huge hurry, shortly AFTER Kelly Rothwell came home on March 12, 2011 to break up with him.

 And what about the moving receipts that were found among Perry's papers? Apparently  he has paid upwards $6000.00 to a moving company earlier in the week to move his belongings to... where???? Could this be what he had planned all along? Lying in wait for Kelly when she got home,  planning on killing her... knowing that as a police Cadet she had probably found out about some sort of illegal activities, things that Kelly had alluded to one of her sisters in a conversation the year before,.. Canceling his gym membership the week before, telling the manager he was "moving to Hawaii"... then Melissa Walker comes into the picture, a National Guard reservist who just coincidentally is being relocated to .... Hawaii... a girl he met on Craigslist, who he marries just three months after Kelly's "disappearance"?
Melissa Walker divorced Perry in  July of 2013.

Nancy Rothwell, Kelly's mother admits while Perry's conviction isn't exactly closure for her, at least it's something that will adversely affect Perry's life.
"Any time anyone has to forfeit money at least it will have an impact his life. I'm just grateful that he has been in prison for this long.. I appreciate the time that he's  been where he is.. at least he can't hurt anybody else right now, " Nancy said. She was also surprised to learn that Det. Mike Bailey has retired and Det. Amy Plourde was now running Kelly's case.

"I've been very disappointed that there has been so little communication from them (the Pinellas County Sheriff's department). I haven't heard from ANY of them in three years, no updates, nothing!" Nancy said. "It would have been professional of them to at least send me a letter or a text or to get a phone call from them about Kelly's case and Detective Bailey. I don't even know what the status of the case is at this point. I feel sorry if other Pinellas County families are going through what ours is if this is how they treat the families of missing people. I know they have my home number, my email address and my home address. But in three years, nothing!"

Nancy is normally a very quiet, private person and her frustration was very evident in her voice as we spoke on the phone today. "A little communication would be professional. The one time I went down  to the Sheriff's office, I got up the nerve to voice my opinion and Det. Plourde promised that she would call me with updates, and stay in touch. I never heard from her again..."

On March 12, 2015, it will be 4 years since Kelly Rothwell went "missing"...and it seems that police are no closer to finding her or what happened to her than they were 4 years ago. 
As of the time of this posting I still have not heard back from Det. Plourde. 

5:57 PM :An update: Nancy Rothwell just sent me a text that she called the Pinellas County Sheriff's office and was told that Det. Bailey was transferred to patrol? I was told by an officer on the phone this afternoon that  he retired. Det. Plourde was sitting in the room  and could hear my conversation.      Hmmmmmm....

Someone out there knows something, heard something, saw something.

Kelly Rothwell needs to come home.          

New York State Police seize Perry's vehicles and other toys.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

She Would Have Been 39 Today....

Kelly Rothwell would have been 39 today... she would have been excelling in her chosen career of law enforcement and domestic violence issues. Kelly  would be doing what she did best; caring, helping, advising those who needed it, whether it was a push to leave a bad relationship or securing an undisclosed place to live safely with children. She would have been the one on the front lines, trying to change the often insane world of family violence that is so pervasive today. She would have made such a difference in so many people's lives.

Instead, Kelly Rothwell is missing and presumed murdered by David Perry, her boyfriend at the time. David Perry is an abuser, a controlling manipulative sociopath that Kelly was trying to leave at the time of her disappearance.

As Kelly was going through the St. Petersburg Police Academy in the early spring 2011, she was looking forward to graduating and beginning a new career. As a cadet she was exposed to all of the different modes of law enforcement and, according to her instructors, she seemed to find her calling in the domestic and family issues... she became passionate about being an advocate for the abused and mistreated and planned on making that her concentration. After being constantly  controlled and manipulated by Perry, Kelly recognized that she herself was also, in essence, a victim and decided to do something about it. She decided to leave David Perry... she never got the chance.

 Three weeks before graduation from the Academy, Kelly went home after lunch with a friend to break up with Perry.  She was never heard from again.  Her Academy books and class notes were found in the dumpster behind her condo. Kelly was gone.. just gone.. and David Perry, who often described her as "the love of my life" took off for his hometown, Elmira, New York and refused to answer any questions about Kelly's "disappearance."

Now 4 years later we are no closer to finding her. David Perry is locked up in Clinton, an upstate prison in New York, often known as "Siberia", for felonies related to his Work Comp fraud case, a case that New York detectives worked incredibly hard to prove.. and finally did. They all believe that  he's guilty of murdering Kelly Rothwell. The Pinellas County Sheriff's department, who is handling the case in Florida, seems no closer to resolving this case.

Today family and friends of Kelly Rothwell are remembering her on this, her 39th birthday. They are remembering her wonderful, wide smile and her gentle heart. They are remembering her incredible kindness, her generosity, her silliness and squeaky laugh.  

But her mother Nancy  said it best when she wrote this to me this morning:

"My thoughts are never far from Kelly. I miss our chats, I miss her beautiful smile, I miss her contagious giggle. I miss everything about her, but always try to focus and remember all of the fun times, all of the good and heartwarming memories that can never be taken away. I remember how blessed I am to be Kelly's mom and how blessed we all have been to have had Kelly in our lives. She had a knack to brighten the cloudiest days. She was such a wonderful daughter, sister and aunt and loyal friend to countless others. Her spirit lives on and on. Happy 39th Birthday, my beautiful sweet girl!"

Happy Birthday Kelly.... please know that you are NOT forgotten and that you are missed.

If you have any information that could lead to the whereabouts of Kelly Rothwell , please call the Pinellas County Sheriff's office at 727-582-6200 .
Thank you,  

Leigh Clifton

Sunday, April 6, 2014

David Perry May Plead Guilty To All Charges, Avoiding a Second Fraud Trial

David Perry, the only suspect in the disappearance and probable murder of St. Pete Florida Police Cadet Kelly Rothwell three years ago may be taking a pleading guilty on all charges and throw himself on the mercy of the Steuben County, N.Y.court. Perry is awaiting a second trial , this time in Steuben County for false instrument for filing, grand larceny and fraud charges stemming from an alleged Work Comp related injury he said he sustained in 2003 while working as a Corrections Officer in the Elmira Correctional  Facility. Perry has already  been convicted in September of 2013 on the same set of charges in Broome County, N.Y. and is currently serving 4-12 years in Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, N.Y.

The charges have been lodged in two different counties because Perry received benefits from the New York State Insurance Fund for Workers Compensation Board, located in Broome County. Perry obtained his 3/4 disability benefits from the New York State and Local Retirement System; he had the funds deposited in a bank in Corning, N.Y. located in Steuben County.

According to Steuben County DA Brooks Baker, he and Judge Joseph  Latham along with Perry's new assigned public defender Jim Faratella, conferenced the case last week.

"He's contemplating an open plea to the entire indictment essentially throwing himself on the mercy of the court begging for concurrent time. We're not sure what's going to happen yet," Baker said.

According to Baker, Perry has an "absolute right" to plead guilty if he wants to.

"If he pleads to the entire indictment as charged  he is talking about pleading guilty to everything he is charged with with no reduction or offer. Essentially he takes me out of the equation. I advocate to the judge for more jail time and he begs the judge for concurrent time. It's up to the judge to decide. The max sentence is 5-15 and it can be either concurrent or consecutive at the judge's discretion."
Baker admits' that it would  likely take 6 months to get to trial but that his time can not be concurrent until he is sentenced.
"He is getting no credit against my time now. Perry is trying to minimize the damage and get it done as soon as possible. He is hoping that the judge would be more lenient than I am. Perry was not present for the conference and the judge made no decision at that time But I did indicate that I want more prison time and will continue to advocate for it."

Sometimes it works for the defendant and sometimes not.  Lets hope in this case that Perry gets the max, consecutive, NOT concurrent sentence, which will keep him in jail a LOT longer. 

Maybe he can use that extra  time to figure out how he will confess to Kelly Rothwell's murder and where he hid her body, so that the Rothwell's can have closure after this incredibly painful ordeal.

Unfortunately for the Rothwells, Perry is a sociopath with no conscience, a narcissist without remorse, guilt or shame.... Lets hope some extra time in prison will make him talk....

Meanwhile Kelly Rothwell is still missing.....

Any information obtained in this article is exclusive and cannot be reproduced without my express permission.© 2014 TAMPABAYCRIMEREPORT.COM

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Missing an Angel; Kelly Rothwell’s Family and Close Friends Speak

By Leigh Clifton

It’s been three years, three long years since St. Pete Police cadet Kelly Rothwell went home to break up with her then- boyfriend, David Perry, and was never seen again. Three years since her family and close friends have heard her cheerful voice, seen her wide, infectious smile or felt her comforting, serene presence
Today I want to write about Kelly Rothwell the person; I was privileged to speak to several of Kelly’s closest friends and wanted people to get to know the Kelly that they knew, the Kelly that they remember, with joy and heartache, fondness and laughter and always, ALWAYS with love….. Some spoke to me by phone, some by text and some via FaceBook message. But all had one common thread; Kelly had profoundly touched their lives in immeasurable ways.. She was just that kind of girl…

Erin Hansel has known Kelly since they were in 5 year old kindergarten students together at St. Michaels the Archangels School in Baltimore, Maryland, where Kelly grew up.  She and Kelly spent a lot of time together and their mothers were friends. She remembers spending the night at Kelly’s house in her basement bedroom, playing records and giggling about stuff.  She and Kelly also took pottery classes together at Gardenville  Rec Center.
“I remember her having a Basset hound; they are the ones with the flappy ears that howl, right?” Erin wrote. (Nancy Rothwell told me the dog’s name was Duke.)  Erin also remembers sailing with Kelly and her dad. “She was in heaven out on the water…”

Another one of Kelly’s childhood friends, Janet, told me that she and Kelly used to skate in the roller rink shows at the Gardenville Rec Center in Baltimore.
“When the skaters would perform for each other during the cast party, the members of the group would sometimes exchange costumes with the boys and then skate to their group songs. We all enjoyed that and so did the kids” Janet wrote me. “She was a treasure, a very sweet person…”

Jen Belcastro went to high school with Kelly in the 90’s in Baltimore. She actually knew Kelly’s three sisters better, as Kelly was a few years older than she was.
“What I remember most about Kelly was that she was a free spirit type, a nature lover with a kind heart. A total hippie in high school.. I looked up to her spirit and style.  I think of her often.”

So many of Kelly’s friend’s remembrances run along the same theme… she touched their lives with her kindness and grace.

Melissa Clemons Johnson wrote “Kelly and I went to high school together in Maryland. What I remember most about her was her smile, her warmth, her presence and her self-confidence. She was a very caring person about everyone and everything.  She would have done anything to help you out. She is very missed in all ways but most of all I miss her smile… that’s the part that I miss the most.”

Kelly’s dad, Tom Rothwell  told me the story of taking Kelly and her sisters on his 24 ft boat the “Two-Rific-Too.” Tom had named the boat after seeing a bumper stick about twins (Kelly’s sisters Lindsay and Lauren are fraternal twins) after the girls were born. As a member and officer at the GlenMar Sailing Association in Middle River on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, Tom raced competitively for years and his name is on the High Point perpetual racing trophy,  something he’s won 4 times. When Kelly was little, Tom would sail with her and her sisters to Fairlee Creek on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where a famous Corn Roast was held every year. The Glenmar Sailing Association would supply between 10 and 15 bushels of corn and the charcoal.  Sailors would bring burgers and hotdogs to roast on the fires.
“We would all of us raft up and then spend the night on the boat. The food was great and the people all enjoyed it. In the morning, I would start cooking bacon and eggs… everyone would wake up to the smell of bacon and show up for breakfast! There was always well-over 100 people at these roasts.”
Tom just recently gave the Two-Rific-Too away; it had been sitting in his yard for a while.
“I’ve dealt with Kelly’s loss; I’ve done my crying. I have great memories of taking her sailing as a little kid. That’s what I hold onto.”

Nancy Rothwell, Kelly’s mother, was just grateful to all of Kelly’s friends that gave me remembrances of her.
“It’s wonderful that so many of Kelly’s friends have such fond memories of her,” Nancy spoke through her tears. “I keep her in my heart and I pray for her every day. I try to keep busy but she is always near me. I miss her and love her so very much…Kelly was an amazing young woman who touched the lives of so many people. She had such a passion for life and was such an inspiration to all. Kelly accomplished so much in her abbreviated life and that is a life to be celebrated, not mourned."

In a lighter moment, Nancy recalled Kelly’s 1972 Yellow VW beetle.
“I remember she had flower stickers all over it,” she chuckled. “She was a hippie girl, through and through.”

There are so many people who knew Kelly so well; I tried to contact as many as possible. There are quite a few of Kelly’s friends that live in Colorado, where Kelly lived for a while when she attended Adams State College. One of her best friends there was Amy Gray from Alamosa, Colorado, who spoke to me earlier today and had wonderful memories of her friendship with Kelly.
“I first met Kelly in chemistry class at Adams State College; I was majoring in biology and she was geology major I think. I was instantly drawn to her; her smile could light up a room. She was so intelligent, she taught me a lot about the origins of rocks and the use of light to determine what types of materials the rocks were comprised of.”
Amy laughed as she recalled Kelly’s yellow VW bug. Kelly and her father Tom had driven it out to Colorado.
“She named it Putt-Putt,” she chuckled. “She also used to say Mary Land, instead of Maryland; that used to crack me up so much!”
Amy is still so incredibly saddened by the loss of her friend. She was one of several close friends from Alamosa.
“Kelly was magical, she was a jewel. One year she dressed up as a ladybug for Halloween… she was just so much fun! She loved all things and all people. And her laugh!! She had this wonderful laugh that instantly enveloped you and made you feel absolute love. It was really distinctive. We all just fell in love with her. She was just pure magic.”
Amy also said that Kelly was the consummate hippy.  She was always tooling around town in Putt-Putt; she had pasted big flower stickers all over the car.
“She was so mellow, so cool. Her favorite song was “Wildflowers”, by Tom Petty.  If you listen to the words, you will understand.”
Amy said that the 12th is a tough day for her. Her son was born on the 10th of March and says that there is sadness and joy at the same time around this time of year.
“I just can’t believe that she’s no longer on this earth. On the one year anniversary of her “disappearance” a bunch of us from Alamosa went up to Navaho Lake. We did a prayer circle and had a remembrance ceremony in her honor. It’s just so incredibly sad that someone so beautiful would be taken from us. It’s almost as if she was too good, too pure of heart to last in this lifetime. I think of Kelly and her family every day and I pray that they hopefully find some peace. Kelly was just magic…. Just magic…”

Finally, Kelly’s sister Lauren spoke of Kelly and effect she had on her life.
“To be honest… No one knows for sure what will come of this. We can only hope that she is found and justice is served. But I do know, for sure, that I think of her every single day. Good things and bad. And I’m so thankful for the influence she’s had on my life. Her departure did not end our relationship. She will always be my sister and that love never dies.”

There are several others of Kelly Rothwell’s friends that couldn't get back to me in time for this publication. I hope that they read these remembrances and comment on the blog, using their names and how they knew Kelly. It’s a wonderful tribute to this woman, who I never had the honor of knowing, that SO many people were touched by Kelly’s heart.

 I leave you with this last thought.. the words from Wildflowers by Tom Petty. They truly do sum up the essence of Kelly’s spirit…

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free

Run away, find you a lover
Go away, somewhere all bright and new
I have seen no other
Who compares with you

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
You belong with your love on your arm
You belong somewhere you feel free

Run away, go find a lover
Run away, let your heart be your guide
You deserve the deepest of cover
You belong in that home by and by

You belong among the Wildflowers
You belong somewhere close to me
Far away from your trouble and worry
You belong somewhere you feel free
You belong somewhere you feel free…..

Friday, February 21, 2014


 David Perry, the only suspect in the disappearance and probable murder of  his then girlfriend St. Pete Police Cadet Kelly Rothwell seems to be getting some karma coming back around to him and there couldn't be a more deserving guy on the planet. Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker will get another shot at David Perry for Fraud and Grand Larceny charges stemming from an  alleged Work-Comp related accident in 2003. Perry who was convicted of those same charges in Broome County and sentenced to 4-12 years originally was also charged with those same offenses in Steuben County. But County Judge Joseph Latham threw out the charges on the grounds that the fraud had not been proven in the Broome County case. With that ruling he also negated the seizure of assets that New York State Police executed against him last year.

 Enter Broome County Asst. DA Sandra Cardone, who was finally able to convict Perry late last year of those charges. Her tenacity, through not one but TWO Grand Juries and two trials resulted in a conviction on Grand Larceny and Fraud charges and a 4-12 year sentence for Perry, who is currently in Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill New York.
Now, with those convictions in hand, DA Baker, who had filed an appeal last year after Judge  Latham's ruling, seemed to have the ammunition needed to propel his argument for Perry's trial in Steuben County.

DA Baker's appeal was argued successfully by John Tunney, who retired after 35 years as the DA of Steuben County and is Baker's mentor. The case was reviewed by the judge who granted the appeal of his original ruling and has been added back into his trial calendar. According to DA Baker, who communicated to me by phone earlier Thursday evening, there is no news yet on an appearance date or what attorney will be representing Perry in this trial.

Also included in this ruling of the appeal is the money that was seized in Perry's house; $128,000 found hidden away as well as his other assets, including the new Honda he bought with cash, his house, (which he tried to sell while it was being used for collateral for his bond), motorcycles and snow mobiles. Baker said that he plans to take the $120 K they have been holding on his conviction.
You might have remembered that Perry ALSO was arrested in an assault charge while in the Steuben County jail. He beat up another prisoner, William Hargrave, with a mop bucket and put him in the hospital with a head laceration. Perry pled guilty on the assault and was sentenced to 9 months in jail. Since he was already IN jail, that case against him is finished. But with the weight of the conviction from Broome County, Perry seems headed for some more jail time. Baker said that if convicted, it will be up to Judge Latham to determine whether any possible sentence would run concurrently or consecutively. Lets hope the latter.

I spoke with Nancy Rothwell, Kelly's mother, Thursday evening to tell her of the developments in Perry's case. She seemed pleased that at least some modicum  of justice for her daughter might still be meted out. As she has said before, she knew Kelly was in a better place. a place where no one could hurt her anymore. There is still such a quiet sadness about Nancy...she grieves in silence. She has no closure, and she doesn't know where her daughter is, only that she's not home where she belongs.

While I know that all of this is probably scant comfort for Kelly's family, at least they and the rest of the world, can rest a bit easier knowing that Perry is off the streets, for now.

Lets hope someone scares the crap out of him in jail, or maybe the thought of more jail time will make him talk and tell police what he did with Kelly's body. I have always maintained that he took her to New York with him right after he killed he in the Indian Rocks Beach condo they rented that March 11th. He is just mentally sick enough to think he's invincible and I think he knew plenty of places he could have hidden her body among the thousands of acres of state parks from New York to Oklahoma, where he had been traced right after be arrived back in Elmira. He has friends out west, in Arizona, who are convicted felons on drug trafficking charges; maybe they helped him...

What is true and irrefutable is that David Perry is still the ONLY suspect in Kelly's disappearance and probable murder.  From where I sit, he deserves  to be where he is sitting for a long, long time.
Lets hope Judge Latham agrees.

The information contained in this blog post was obtained exclusively by me and may NOT be used without my express written consent.


David Perry mug shot