Kelly Rothwell

Kelly Rothwell
Much Loved Sister, Daughter, Friend

Thursday, March 12, 2020


In 2011, there were 14,612 murders in the US.  According to, the FBI releases crime data every year, including the number of women who have been killed by men, but local police are not required to file reports to the agency. For some reason Florida does not participate. The state has not provided its data to the FBI since 1996. Why is that? Why don't the women matter?

More than half of all women murdered are killed by an intimate partner, husband or boyfriend. Statistics show that there was physical, emotional and /or psychological abuse in the relationship and that the women had attempted to leave the relationship at least twice before they were murdered.
Many of these women, for the most part, were educated, smart women, but had been intimidated by overbearing, possessive, controlling men into silence about their plight, often cut off from family and friends and resources.

Kelly Rothwell was beautiful, vibrant and smart... a hippie chick with a sing-song voice and a smile that would light up a room. She was complex and complicated and sometimes unsure of what trajectory her life was taking. Her career took several different paths in different parts of the country;  her home state of Maryland, Colorado, West Virginia and finally she landed in Florida, in a beautiful beachfront condo she rented in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. After years in the hospitality business, she decided to become a police officer and enrolled in the St. Petersburg Police Academy, where she excelled and was well liked by her fellow officer trainees. She made the decision to concentrate her efforts on Domestic Violence issues. Unfortunately, it was a portent to come...

David Perry was a retired Corrections Officer from Elmira, New York. He was tall, lean and some say handsome and charming, but beneath that facade was a psychopath; a man who had beat both his first wife and their children, an abusive, sadistic man who was disliked by almost everyone, save a few  COs he had worked with at the Elmira Prison  Most of his co-workers had called him "smug, know-it-all, obnoxious, pompous, a real jerk". In 2003, Perry had faked a back injury he claimed to have gotten trying to subdue a prisoner. He left the Prison on a 3/4  disability pension, also  receiving Social Security disability benefits. He bragged to people he "made seven grand a month.

Perry saw Kelly at a  Sweet Tomatoes restaurant and started a conversation, sitting with her for dinner.  He was charming and attentive and soon they were seeing each other. Perry moved in with Kelly about a month later.
The Monster had found his "mark"  and was on the move.

Perry began by doing the little things; bringing flowers every night, texting endearments to her all the time, staying home instead of going out with friends. It progressed to checking Kelly's phone and email, telling friends who called she wasn't home, making excuses to avoid her family. Perry has OCD, Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder. He vacuumed up to 10 times a day. Everything in the condo was arranged to his specification. He cleaned constantly and would become enraged at a water bottle dripping on the kitchen counter. As his obsessive behavior escalated, her tried to isolate Kelly from her friends and family. He followed her when she went out locally; in one instance sitting in the parking lot, a black t-shirt  covering him in the window.

It was during this time that Kelly decided to enroll in the Police Academy. She was becoming more and more independent from Perry and he saw that he was losing control over her. The texts became even more frequent and swung between whining and pathetic to nasty and mean. No one knows if Perry ever hit Kelly... she never spoke of it to family of friends.

Kelly nonetheless excelled in her studies at the Academy and was due to graduate in a month that March 12, 2011. At this time, she had made the decision to leave Perry. Perhaps it was the support she received from her fellow cadets and her research into domestic violence or the friendship she had developed from a yoga group that finally convinced her that she was in a toxic and dangerous relationship and needed to get out.

On March 12, 2011, Kelly Rothwell had lunch with a friend at Chili's and told her that she was going home to tell Perry she was done, she was moving on and moving out. Even though her friend tried to insist that she follow her home in case Perry reacted badly, Kelly told her she would be fine, that 'Dave would be fine."

But Perry wasn't "fine". Kelly walked in the door of their condo and was never seen again. As I've said before, I think Perry had planned to kill Kelly and laid in wait for her. I think he grabbed her as soon as she got in the door, strangled her and after cleaning up the condo, left for Elmira. I think he took her body with him, knowing the Pinellas County Sheriffs office would never think to look up there.
THAT'S why I think he took her body to New York.

David Perry has never been charged in connection with Kelly's "disappearance.  There is now a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office  Cold Case detective who's looking at the nine year old case.

Meanwhile, it's been NINE YEARS without a word, NINE YEARS without closure for Kelly Rothwell's family and friends. 3258 Days since Kelly was last seen.

David Perry killed Kelly Rothwell.
Its time for him to be charged with her murder, thrown in jail and toss the key.

And its time for Kelly Rothwell to "come home" to her family.

Its just damn time.

Meanwhile Kelly is still missing and presumed dead at the hands of David Perry.  Someday, that bastard WILL break. I hope I'm there to see it.

Leigh Clifton


David Perry mug shot