It seems more and more likely that missing Florida-based comics writer, and Thundercats TV show scripter, Stephen Perry has died as a result of foul play. According to Tampa Bay’s St. Petersburg Times, deputies recently found a severed body part close to where Perry’s van was abandoned at a Quality Inn in Tampa. The police are also holding Perry’s two roommates as “persons of interest.” The pair, James and Roxanne Davis, are a married couple with criminal histories.
According to Tampa Bay’s Fox 13, detectives were first alerted to the possibility of a problem after relatives apparently called expressing concern that they had difficulty contacting one or more of the trio living at Perry’s house in Zephyrhills, Florida. It seems that Perry, 56, had vanished after leaving a hospital where he was being treated for cancer.
On Sunday, May 17, police received a 911 call about a foul-smelling van which had been parked for days at the Quality Inn. When they arrived at the scene they found the severed body part (Fox 13 is claiming that investigators have stated the part to be a man’s severed arm). The police then accompanied Perry’s ex-girlfriend, and the mother of his five-year-old son, to his house in Zephyrhills which had been ransacked.
Last Friday, Perry’s roommates were arrested on unrelated charges. The St. Petersburg Times has reported that Captain Robert McKinney of the Zephyrhills Police Department said the Davises are “people of interest” in Perry’s disappearance and possible murder. (McKinney refused to say whether the severed body part belonged to Perry.) The Times further updated the story today by publishing a jail interview with James Davis in which he insists he last saw Perry at a flea market. In addition, Davis stated that both he and Perry were addicted to Oxycontin.
Perry is best known for his writing work on the ‘80s TV shows Thundercats and Silverhawks. But he has also penned many comics, often in collaboration with his longtime friend, and legendary Swamp Thing artist, Steve Bissette. In recent times, Perry hit hard times, due to his cancer diagnosis and financial problems. He received assistance from both Bissette, who issued an appeal for help on his behalf, and the Hero Initiative, a non–profit that provides aid to comic creators. In a video interview posted by the Hero Initiative just over a week ago, Perry recalled how he was, at one point, “basically homeless, living in my vehicle with my five-year-old son. We had no place to live, no money, no food, no nothing. [The Hero Initiative] interceded and enabled me to get a home, get the electric turned on, get the water turned on, and go from there. They really saved my life.”
Those who would like to learn more about Perry should check out a couple of articles that Steve Bissette posted over the weekend which look back at his friend’s career. Significantly, Bissette noted that the a recent “grueling surgery” had “awakened Steve to a new sense of self-worth and appetite for life that he hadn’t expressed in over two decades.” However, the artist also ruminated on how Perry’s “lifestyle during his last 20 years constantly put him in the proximity of sketchy characters, and I fear that blindspot… has taken terrible toll. Perhaps, I fear, the ultimate toll.”
Obviously, there will be more information to come on this seemingly tragic tale. As soon as we hear anything new, then so will you.