Pinellas County Sheriffs Office

Detectives are seeking the public’s help in solving a 9-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a female police cadet from Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, who was last seen at a Chili’s in Clearwater.

Female police cadet goes missing

On March 12, 2011, Kelly Rothwell, met up with her friend Donna Scharrett at a Chili’s restaurant in Clearwater, Florida.

During the meal, she shared a revelation that she was planning on ending her “volatile relationship” with her boyfriend of three years, David Perry.

According to detectives, Rothwell was scheduled to meet with friends again later that same evening but never showed up. Rothwell was never seen from again.

Later that evening, police discovered Rothwell’s 2007 Subaru outback parked at Indian Rocks Beach, about two miles from her home. Her purse and her wallet were both missing.

At the time of her disappearance, Rothwell was 35 years old and a cadet in training at the police academy.

Boyfriend remains a key suspect

David Perry was fourteen years older than Rothwell. Friends would later tell detectives that Perry was known to be extremely jealous when it came to Kelly and that he tried to isolate and control her.

the mugshot of David Perry, suspect in a murder
New York State Police Department

Nancy Rothwell, Kelly’s mother, described Perry as “dangerous.”

During the original investigation in March of 2011, detectives discovered that Perry had moved out of the condominium he shared with Rothwell and drove to New York on the same night she went missing.

The Sheriff’s office reported that neighbors told them they heard “arguing, banging and vacuuming…and then silence” in the home on the night that Perry had moved out and Rothwell disappeared.

An investigation of the condo found the residence in pristine and sterile-like condition.

The Sheriff’s office also wrote in a news release: “Detectives say Perry would not cooperate with the investigation and he is a suspect in the case.”

However, investigators simply did not have enough evidence to charge Perry with Rothwell’s murder and that remains to be the situation until proper evidence comes along.

Boyfriend arrested in New York on unrelated charges

Rothwell’s boyfriend David R. Perry, was a retired New York State corrections officer. He retired after suffering an injury on the job.

Perry was arrested in New York on May 5, 2011, on charges unrelated to the disappearance of Rothwell. Perry was arraigned on fraudulent practices, including insurance fraud in the second degree and grand larceny in the second degree, according to records from the Clerk’s Office at Union Court in Broome County, New York.

He was booked into County jail and was held without bail pending his court appearance. He eventually was found guilty and is currently serving time behind bars on those charges in New York.

Detectives need your help

Kelly Rothwell
Pinellas County Sheriffs Office

Detectives are eager to bring this cold case to a close and bring closure to Kelly Rothwell’s family and friends.

Kelly Lundy Rothwell has been missing since March 12, 2011, last seen at a Chili’s in Clearwater, Florida.

She is a Caucasian female, was 35 years old at the time, with brown hair, brown eyes, height 5’1, weight 110 pounds, and has a tattoo of a butterfly on her ankle. Her ears are pierced.

Authorities are urging anyone with any information on Kelly’s disappearance to please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.