Boyfriend of Missing Florida Police Recruit Named a Suspect in Disappearance

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The boyfriend of a missing Florida police recruit has been named a suspect in her disappearance, police said Tuesday.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that David Perry, a former New York State prison guard, is now a suspect in the disappearance of 35-year-old Kelly Rothwell, of Indian Rocks Beach, Fla.

Rothwell was last seen March 12 having lunch with a friend at a restaurant in Pinellas County. An investigation began the following day, when another friend asked deputies to check on Rothwell at her home where she lived with 46-year-old Perry.

The friend was concerned for Rothwell's safety due to "domestic issues" the couple had been experiencing, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Rothwell reportedly told a close friend that she was going to break up with David Perry. The normally sunny Rothwell was becoming increasingly disturbed at his possessive behavior, friend Donna Scharrett said, and had decided to move out of the couple's condo.

Investigators said Perry, who has been considered a witness, has "failed to acknowledge detectives requests for interviews regarding that night" and they believe he is withholding information.

"His bizarre behavior and lack of cooperation, coupled with detectives recently learning Perry began a new relationship with another woman shortly after Rothwell disappeared, has detectives now naming him a suspect in her disappearance," the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said in a press release. "Detectives will continue their pursuit of the truth about what caused Rothwell's disappearance with or without Perry."

A police press conference is scheduled for later Tuesday.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report