With the 35-year-old police cadet missing without a trace and no leads to her whereabouts, Patch recreates a time line of her disappearance and the events that followed.
By Leigh Clifton | Email the author | April 6, 2011
It has been nearly a month since the Indian Rocks Beach resident Kelly Rothwell disappeared.
There have been no sightings, cell phone calls or credit card purchases that would suggest Rothwell is safe or even alive, since the 35-year-old Indian Rocks Beach woman dropped out of sight on March 12.
As family, friends, associates and police investigators hunt for Rothwell, Patch has created a timeline that marks her disappearance and the events that have followed.
It shows how quickly friends, her immediate family and investigators responded, when Rothwell — who has been described as dependable — disappeared.
Rothwell’s absence was first noticed when she failed to meet some friends from the police academy for a Saturday night out. She was not at her desk at the St. Pete Police Academy on Monday morning.
The timeline also shows how the departure of David Perry, Rothwell’s live-in boyfriend, for New York coincided with her disappearance.
Perry, a 46-year-old retired New York State prison guard, first refused to talk with investigators, but then said last week he does not know what happened to her.
1:30-3:38 p.m., Saturday, March 12th: Rothwell has lunch with friend Donna Scharrett at Chili’s Restaurant on Rt. 19, Clearwater. She leaves the restaurant,telling Scharrett she’s headed to her Indian Rocks Beach condominium to break up with live-in boyfriend David Perry. A time stamp on Scharrett’s lunch receipt shows the two settling up and heading out at 3:38 p.m. Rothwell drives away in her Subaru.
4:30-5:30 p.m., March 12th: Downstairs neighbor Ken Williamson and his wife hear a loud pounding noise on the floor of Rothwell’s condominium, which is directly above the unit where he and his wife live. The pounding sounds like something being dropped on the carpeted floor, Williamson said. It is followed by the sound of a vacuum cleaner running in Rothwell’s master bedroom.
6:30 p.m., March 12th: Rothwell is a no-show for a planned get-together at Caddy’s, on Sunset Beach, that include some of the cadets at the St. Petersburg Police Academy.
6:30 p.m., March 12th: Scharrett gets a text from Rothwell’s phone, advising that she will call later. Scharrett recalls there are misspellings, which are unusual for Rothwell.
Before midnight March 12th: Perry, Rothwell’s live-in boyfriend, leaves Indian Rocks Beach for Elmira, NY. Perry leaves behind many belongings.
10 a.m., Sunday March 13th: Bill Nobles, a police cadet and classmate of Rothwell, calls Scharrett, asking if she has seen Rothwell, who did not show up for the party at Caddy’s.
10:15 a.m., March 13th: Scharrett tries Rothwell’s cell phone several times, with no answer. Scharrett is worried about her friend’s safety, since Rothwell had disclosed that she and Perry have had “domestic” problems. Scharrett calls Nobles back, and he advises her to call the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and ask for a “House Check” for her friend. She contacts the Sheriff’s Office, which dispatches a patrol car.
11 a.m., March 13th: Scharrett hears back from the Sheriff’s Office that no one is at the condominium and that vehicles belonging to Perry and Rothwell are not in their assigned parking spaces at the condominium complex.
Noon, March 13th: With the help of neighbors who have a key, deputies enter Rothwell’s condo and find no one at home.
Early afternoon, March 13th: Rothwell’s green Subaru is found a couple miles from her house, parked near a Holiday Inn.
9 p.m., March 13th: Homicide Detective Michael Bailey, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, goes to Scharrett’s home and takes a statement from Rothwell’s best friend.
Monday, March 14th: Rothwell does not show up at the St. Pete Police Academy. Prior to this, she has never missed a day of class.
March 14th: David R. Perry, Perry’s 21-year-old son, shows up at the condo and tries to remove a cardboard box, which detectives take into their possession and have at this time.
March 15th: Florida detectives make contact with Perry in Elmira, New York, but the retired corrections officer refuses to talk with investigators or to allow New York police to search his car.
Monday, March 21: Nancy Rothwell, Kelly’s mother, meets Scharrett at her daughter’s condo. She tries to assist in the search for her daughter.
Tuesday, March 22: William Constantine, a close friend of Scharrett, meets Nancy Rothwell at Kelly’s condo. Constantine is a psychic and medium who offers his assistance at no charge to the Rothwell family.
Wednesday, March 23rd: TV’s Nancy Grace interviews Rothwell’s neighbor, Ken Williamson, her sister Kristen and psychic William Constantine. The case starts to get national attention.
March 24th: Perry surrenders his car to New York detectives. Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office executes a second search warrant of the Indian Rocks Beach condominium that Rothwell shared with Perry.
10:30 a.m., Sunday, March 27th: Detectives with Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Homicide Division, learn David Perry has returned to Florida and is cleaning out a storage locker at a local storage facility. They approach him and ask him to provide a DNA sample. Perry refuses.
Friday, April 1st: New York attorney Thomas Reilly tells the Associated Press that his client, David Perry, did nothing wrong and does not know the whereabouts of Kelly Rothwell. He also asserts his client’s right to refuse to speak to police.
April 1-3rd: Perry is seen driving a gray rental car near his home at 1708 W. Church St., in Elmira, NY.
Wednesday, April 6: Kelly Rothwell is still missing. Friends and loved ones keep vigil for Rothwell via the Facebook Page titled: “Help Find Kelly Rothwell.”
Wednesday, April 13: St. Pete Police Academy is scheduled to graduate its spring class of recruits. Rothwell’s name is listed among the students, with the notation: “Not in attendance.” There will be a candlelight vigil and prayer circle to honor Rothwell following the 6 p.m. graduation ceremony.
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