"He killed Kelly Rothwell," says ex-wife of missing police cadet's boyfriend

7:58 PM, Apr 21, 2011   |    comments
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Kelly Rothwell and boyfriend David Perry

St. Petersburg, Florida - Kelly Rothwell was ready to end her relationship with what she called a controlling boyfriend, David Perry. Perry is a retired corrections officer, 11 years her senior.

That was March 12th. 

Kelly was on her way to their Indian Rocks Beach condo to end the relationship.  She had just finished eating at a Clearwater Chili's with a girlfriend. After she left the restaurant, Kelly was never seen again.

Perry took off for New York shortly after Kelly's disappearance. He has not helped detectives in the investigation. He has not given a DNA sample. He has not given any interviews.

He has not searched for her in Florida, detectives say.

Perry's ex-wife, Luana Greenfield, is now speaking out and telling the story of a dangerous man.

In a phone interview near Syracuse, New York, Greenfield told 10 News about her ex-husband of 10 years.

We asked, "Do you think that Dave killed Kelly?"

Greenfield replied, "Yes, I do. I really truly do in my heart, I know he did. He's very, very evil. I can't even describe him. I used to call him Satan, because that's who he is."

Greenfield says Perry has a history of violence with women.  She detailed years of abuse with Perry.

She says Perry punched her in the stomach while she was pregnant, causing her to miscarry.  She says Perry choked her, put a gun to her head, and cheated on her with her friends and their babysitters.

She added that he even threatened to kill their children if she fought him on custody of their three children when they divorced.

Greenfield believes that Kelly's body is in New York.

"I think that's she probably up here somewhere. He knows places.  She could be up here anywhere. Anywhere he used to hunt even.  Why would he race up here?" Greenfield said.

One question that's been asked over and over again: why can't Dave Perry be forced to talk? After all, he was the boyfriend of this young woman who went missing and he still hasn't spoken.

And, the answer is simple. He doesn't have to. At this point, he's well within his rights not to incriminate himself. And at this point in the case, Kelly is only considered a missing person.

Detective Michael Bailey with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says, "It is highly irregular for somebody not to cooperate, even if you would have just broken up with somebody, you'd probably try to assist the police."

Greenfield also tells the story of Perry's upbringing.  She says that he grew up with an abusive father that used to "beat him" as a child.

"He was a liar," Greenfield said.  "He lied from day one."  She also says that Perry's mother "hated him" when she died. 

Greenfield says she lived in fear for the decade that she was married to Perry. 

"If I didn't leave him, I would be dead today," she told us. "The worst thing Kelly could have done was go home [to break up with him] alone."

For now, Perry remains in Elmira, New York.

He is said to be hanging out at home and going out to eat alone.  "His friends do not want to spend time anymore with him. They know what he did," Greenfield says.

"He told someone at a bar that she was killed by her ex-boyfriend," says Greenfield.  "That was just a week ago."

Detectives have not said when they will travel to New York to try and talk with Perry. They are currently preparing their case and searching for Kelly.  

Melanie Michael

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