Kelly Rothwell

Kelly Rothwell
Much Loved Sister, Daughter, Friend

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Relief, Anxiety Grow as David Perry is Formally Named a Suspect in Kelly Rothwell's Disappearance

Candles in the sand light the beach as the third month of Kelly's going missing passes by.
Today's announcement by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department  formally naming David Perry a suspect in the disappearance of Kelly Rothwell was greeted with sighs of relief and speculation. The announcement could not have come at a better time; family and friends of Kelly have been speculating about the case's status for weeks. But Detective Mike Bailey, the lead on this case, and coincidentally the same detective who broke a 20 year old cold case wide open and solved it on this day as well, can feel a sense  of accomplishment and progress, however small it might appear to be to the public.

The very naming of Perry as a suspect will put him in a bigger spotlight, one he seems to like to be in. He has constantly taunted the family and friends of Kelly on a Facebook page that claims his innocence, while quoting such a bizarre range of notables as Buddha, Green Day, Cat Stevens, Transcendental Meditation and praising his attorney Tom Reilly's statement to the press to "suck a rock" in an effort to try and convince the three  official readers who"liked "the page of the depth of his soul.

More interesting STILL is the news today that Perry QUIT his gym membership , announcing he was moving to Hawaii with his girlfriend, BEFORE Kelly Rothwell went missing. Further, it seems that his NEW girlfriend, Melissa Walker HAS moved to Hawaii , no doubt awaiting her "soul mate" and true love, David Perry. This speaks volumes in that it seems Perry knew BEFORE Kelly went missing that he was "moving" to Hawaii... how do it know???? Can that be an important clue as to his state of mind regarding Kelly  PRIOR to her disappearance? The things that make you go hhhmmm sometimes.... really?

The news today was a long time coming for Kelly's family, especially her mother, Nancy Rothwell. I know Nancy and respect her need for privacy , away from the glare of the media lights and cameras. She is a kind and gentle woman who has lost her daughter and while the public may not hear from her often, she is non-the-less fighting for her daughter's justice  behind the scenes. Today's news for her was good and evoked a sense of cautious optimism. She is always very careful with her words...

"I feel that today is a definite step closer to finding justice for Kelly," she told me earlier this afternoon."  Now he (David) needs to come forward and own up to what he's done. It seems to me that when he does, he  will eventually feel better. His true colors are going to show."

Listening to Nancy, it's easy to see where Kelly gets her sense of fair play and even temperament.Even in her grief, Nancy Rothwell feels that David Perry will  do the right thing, admit that he harmed her daughter, and own up to it, accepting the consequences of his actions. However, it doesn't mean that Nancy doesn't believe in judgement AND justice for her daughter.

"I feel that Kelly really believed in law and order and crime and punishment and I know she would want justice. She was focused on it and in her desire to make being a police officer her career, she always tried to do the right thing," Nancy said.

As to hearing about a new girl friend in Perry's life, Nancy had this to say;
"It's scary to think that this young woman is involved with this man," she said  carefully. "Its a scary thought that even with the facts in front of her, she isn't seeing all the signs and what type of person he really is."

Nancy is quiet for a moment, collecting her thoughts. I can tell that this is difficult for her...
"But she's had a heads up on his character.. Kelly never  got that information.. she never knew what he did before so she never knew what he was really capable of."

Nancy is referring to  family court documents from Chemung County, New York, documenting domestic violence calls that were made to the Elmira police from David Perry's house when he was married to his first wife, Luana. She has since spoken out about his extensive abuse of her AND her kids. Interestingly enough, Perry's children seem to back up his story that he knows nothing of Kelly's  "disappearance," and have either refused to speak to police or have retained an attorney.

Kelly's sister Lauren greeted today's news with some reticence, but also with  cautious optimism and a sense of relief.

"Everybody has been so beautiful; people who don't even know Kelly have been so supportive of our family. We want everyone to know what a blessing that is for us. We have stayed primarily behind the scenes and let the police do their job on Kelly's case. My family and I knew  knew all along that it would come together and today is a huge leap forward towards finding Kelly."

Lauren said that her family believed all along that Perry was involved in Kelly's going missing.

"I called him that Monday, the 14th, after she was reported missing," Lauren said, "and the first thing out of his mouth  was "have you heard from Kelly".... I asked him where Kelly was and he just went off on a tangent, talking about how she "met a  new friend and moved to Utah" , then he said he was in New York, like he'd been there for a while.. it was very strange.He was really rambling.... I finally hung up on him."

Lauren said that her family has been very patient with law enforcement and their efforts to find Kelly ... and a suspect.

Lauren has some thoughts about Perry's actions..

"The moment he took off for Elmira, it raised all kinds of red flags. I hope that his new girlfriend finds out about his true self in time. He is NOT O.J.Simpson; he thinks he will beat this. Every thing he'd doing and saying; running back to Elmira, NOT cooperating with police, running from the Pinellas County detectives when they tried to talk to him... ALL of that bizarre behavior just points to guilt, NOT innocence.

I asked Lauren if she felt that anything was possibly allegedly  premeditated on his part.

"If he DID kill my sister, I don't think it was planned out.. but now that I hear about the gym membership, I am thinking differently. I DO know that with Kelly becoming a cop, she would have naturally been curious about him. Maybe she found out about what he was REALLY like, or she learned something about his character that he found out she knew about. Kelly was going to be a cop and he was a dirt bag. I think there are things that he is involved with that Kelly probably  found out about...things that he would get hurt by if anyone found out. I think that there was a lot of stuff she dug up on him. His personality is such that people don't leave him; he leaves THEM. Maybe that was too much for his pride or his  extreme OCD personality. But that's just my opinion; I'll never know now I guess..." Lauren's voice drifted off.

As we being to finish up our talk, Nancy Rothwell  sighs a big sigh ... she knows that today's news is a positive step, but a baby step in the grand scheme of things. There is enormous hurt yet a quiet dignity in her voice.

'I want people to know that Kelly was a beautiful person who deserves justice; her family and friends would like to see that. We want to thank everyone for their wonderful support. We also want to thank the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and the detectives that have been working so hard on Kelly's case. We know they won't stop until justice is served for Kelly. Meanwhile, we will take things as the come and be grateful for ANY information that can lead us to Kelly's whereabouts. We're offering a $25,000.00 reward for information leading to where Kelly is. In addition, any money collected on the website, IN ADDITION, from the search fund donations on that site, will ALSO be part of the reward. Please, someone out there knows something and we need your help to bring my beautiful daughter, Kelly Rothwell, home."


  1. Karen From New YorkJune 15, 2011 at 6:42 AM

    Fantastic Article! Let's bring her home now:)

  2. Great article Ms. Clifton. While I respect Mrs. Rothwells opinion, i have to disagree with her about David owning up to anything. just this morning, i saw him riding his bike on Old Hendy Creek Road with his hood up, I guess he is terrified of the comp investigators huh? This is a person with no remorse and can lie so much he actually believes it. The world would be a better place without him in it, but I dont make those decisions, only God does. Sorry to say, he cant lie to God. God Bless the Rothwells and thank you Leigh for all your wonderful work and courage. ---Concerned Citizen

  3. Thank you Leigh for taking the time to share this with all of us... Although I have never met any of you I hope that someday I will have the pleasure. My heart goes out to the Rothwell family and also to so many others that Kelly has touched.. I agree this is one small step but it is also a very big step in bringing justice to the one person that knows what happened to Kelly and where she is.. I pray that the Rothwell's will finally get the answers they so deserve and that Kelly will finally be home.. Prayers and hugs to all of you.. Nancy Rodabaugh

  4. As I have come to expect, this blog article is top-notch and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing all of this information with us, Leigh. Thank you Nancy and Lauren for letting us be a small part of your lives. It would have been my pleasure to know Kelly, as it was when I had the opportunity to meet Lauren and Lindsay. Keeping all of you in my prayers, and praying that answers and justice come soon. I will continue to do what I can from this end - it's the right thing to do. LisaD

  5. I am not nocking kelly at all. But a few months before this all happened britney and her brother Davie told her about him. They said he is not this kind man you think he is. And proceeded to tell her. I know this is true because Britney called me after it happened. Davie had gone to the house and had a fight with his dad and then told Kelly about how he was abusing me and them when we were married. So she had some heads up. Maybe thats when she started to realize he was not who he said he was and became a cop.

  6. When this all comes to a head, I hope his teenage victims from his high school days stand up and speak, giving credence to his patterns of abuse even then. Whoever you are, I'm sorry you had to know this creep. But help put him behind bars and tell all you know...all you remember. God Bless

  7. I pray that he will be convicted and that he will spend the rest of his years behind bars. Not only for Kelly but for everyone in his past and present that he has hurt, for cheating the system, and for being so arrogant that he actually thought he could get away with all of this. EVERYTHING catches up to you. One way or another. Sooner or later he will NEVER be able to hurt another soul again. Thank you Leigh for being the angel that you are. For being true to yourself so that you may serve others and yourself so genuinely. For all of your dedication and keeping your promise to my mother. As my mom always said to me "everything is temporary". Sooner or later, Kelly will be brought home and he will will pay for all of the horrible things he has done in his lifetime. Thank you! We love you! ~Lauren Rothwell



David Perry mug shot