ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The boyfriend of missing Pinellas police cadet Kelly Rothwell has been named as a suspect in her disappearance, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday morning.
David Perry, 48, had only been considered a witness in the investigation up until this point.
In a release, detectives said Perry fled to New York state the same night Rothwell was reported missing by friends. Perry was later arrested on unrelated charges.
Perry allegedly started a relationship shortly after Rothwell's disappearance, which, among other things, lead detectives to name him as a suspect.
Kelly Rothwell disappeared in mid-march after leaving a Clearwater restaurant. At the time, she was living with Perry and had told friends she intended to break up with him.
A concerned friend called authorities and deputies went to the couple's Indian Rocks Beach home on a welfare check.
When officers arrived, no one was home and both of the couple's vehicles were missing.
Rothwell's car was eventually found about two miles south of the residence.
Repeated calls to Rothwell's cell phone went unanswered. Those who know Rothwell say it was uncharacteristic of her to disappear and not return calls.
Rothwell, a police recruit attending the Pinellas Police Academy in St. Petersburg, never showed up for class again following her disappearance.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Robbery-Homicide Unit at 727-582-6200.