Robot 6

ThunderCats writer Stephen Perry missing after grisly discovery [Updated]

Stephen Perry

Stephen Perry

Police in Florida are searching for ailing ThunderCats writer Stephen Perry, who disappeared from his Zephyrhills home under suspicious, and possibly ghastly, circumstances.

His van was found Sunday abandoned in a motel parking lot. Nearby, FOX 13 reports, was a man’s severed arm. More remains were discovered at a gas-station dumpster two miles away from Perry’s home, which had been ransacked.

On Friday authorities arrested Perry’s two roommates, Roxanne D. Davis, 49, and James W. Davis, 46, who had been missing since Sunday. The St. Petersburg Times reports that James Davis is charged with trafficking of controlled substances, possession of paraphernalia, possession of controlled substances and two warrants for failure to appear in court. Roxanne Davis is charged with violation of parole, grand theft and burglary.

Police have avoided publicly referring to the case as a homicide investigation, but signs obviously point to that. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement told The Tampa Tribune the agency had been called in to assist with an apparent homicide, but wouldn’t say whether it was related to the missing persons investigation. However, Zephyrhills Mayor Cliff McDuffie said, “I assume it is the same investigation. I assume it is a homicide.”

Perry, 56, is best known for his work on the mid-1980s animated series ThunderCats and SilverHawks, both developed by Rankin/Bass. However, he also wrote comics like Timespirits and Psi-Force for Marvel and Wally Wood’s THUNDER Agents for Deluxe.

His struggles with bladder cancer and dwindling finances were publicized in recent months by the likes of Steve Bissette and the Hero Initiative, an organization that he credited with saving his “very life with its good will, generosity and kindness.”

“They allowed me to seek some medical help and enabled me and my son to put a roof over our heads — I was homeless with that little boy in my van last year,” Perry wrote in mid-March on the charity’s blog. “The Initiative gave me the breathing room to get some Medicaid and food stamps, and while we are always in danger of losing our home, electricity and belongings at any moment, I will always be grateful from the depths of my heart for the past six months of fairly solid home life I have had with my little boy.”

Perry talked more about Hero Initiative in a video posted just last week at Comic Book Resources.

Update: The St. Petersburg Times reports that Pasco County court records show Perry and his 5-year-old son Leo filed for a protective order against a woman late last month. However, the request was dismissed when Perry didn’t appear at a hearing on May 13, three days before the discovery of his abandoned van and ransacked house.

According to Zephyrhills police Capt. Robert McKinney, Leo is safe and with his mother. McKinney also acknowledged that Roxanne Davis and James Davis are people of interest in a “possible homicide.”

Update 2: Hero Initiative President Jim McLauchlin told Robot 6 that the organization had been in contact with local police, who at the time were treating this as a missing persons case. “Certainly, we hope for the best,” McLauchlin said.

Over the past eight months, Hero Initiative had assisted Perry by paying rent, utilities and medical bills. The charity also helped with medical referrals, lined up some paying work and brought him to MegaCon in March so he could reconnect with the comics industry.

Update 3: Steve Bissette writes about the life and career of his friend Stephen Perry.

Update 4 (May 23): An interview in today’s St. Petersburg Times with Krystal Carroll, Perry’s ex-girlfriend and Leo’s mother, all but confirms the writer’s fate: “Saturday, Carroll talked of Perry in the past tense. She would not say what detectives told her, as she doesn’t want to hurt the case. But she did say her son ‘knows that Daddy is in heaven’.”

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Comments

52 Comments

Jesus Christ.

This…no. Not okay.

Ugh.

Faith…..

and listen to his words…. you’re right…. Jesus Christ.

WOW, what a tragedy I loved the T-Cats.
On a slightly different note, is it just me or does Stephen Perry resemble Jaga or what? Just an observation.

Oh my God! I’ve been following Mr. Perry’s story since Steve Bissette posted it on his website. It looked like life was finally treating him kindly. Now this…..

thank you for mentioning that Leo is safe, I was worried about his safety…

This is just terrible…

Dear Lord… let him be found safe.

Oh my god! This is just insane! :(

This is aweful. How can some druggie crap harm such a talented person down on his luck. Sick pigs need to be quartered.

how sad just when it looked like Steve had finaly gotten a silver lining and was on his way to maybe getting some breathing room this thing had to happen to Steve. it is not fair at all. though hopefuly the cops get a miracle and find Steve alive.

After Steve seemed finally to have an opportunity to spend some more precious time with his kid, this happens ???

Damn

This is horrifying. Were they able to identify the arm? Is Leo safe?

Christ – what a tragedy.

I know hope is slim, but I really do hope he’s okay, from the bottom of my heart. The Hero feature on him was really touching, and to have something like this happen just when things were looking up? Terrible.

Nick– Re: Leo, according to Steve Bissette: “…to the best of my knowledge and according to Zephyrhills officials on the record, Leo is safe and with his biological mother.”

Wow, i hope that he can be found, either alive or dead. The family deserves to know what happen to him.

Horrific. God help Stephen, whatever may have become of him.

Well, i expect to hear this one on the world news any night now, and Im sure it will be incredibly ugly when all the details come out.. Have to re read my WW thunder agents, it was a very classy series.

I mainly remember Steve Perry from his Shadows of the Empire novel. I hope he’s found and justice is served for those responsible.

actually, I just realized I might be talking about a different author named Steve Perry. Sorry.

When I first saw this, it was incredibly surreal. I can’t imagine or fathom why anything like this could have happened to someone who was so down on their luck. What could the motive possibly be for something like this to happen? Just…..why?

Shnitzey Pretzelpants

May 23, 2010 at 8:37 am

Drugs. Plain and simple. If you look at the photos of the two roommates – and I do hate judging from appearance – but they seriously look like an unsavory pair, and every new item I could find about this states that the pair were arrested in “an unrelated drug case” but are now also being looked at as suspects or ‘persons of interest’ in a homicide.

My own guess, is that either on top of all of Perry’s other ailments he suffered from some substance abuse problems and therefore gravitated towards these two, or his dire economic situation forced him into taking in/moving in with roommates. That or some combination of those.

Some news outlets have speculated – though where they are getting this is anybody’s guess – that the drug-dealing roommates may have been after his medication.

This is such a rotten thing, and I fear the worst – mainly because if the severed remains were absolutely NOT Perry’s the police would have issues a statement to that effect, which lends me to believe that the police suspect that the remains are Perry’s and they are awaiting lab results to verify their suspicions.

Likewise, if the roommates were being questioned about a homicide that was NOT Perry, the police would have made that clear too.

Folks —

Just to let you know, there are a couple of us Steve Perrys who sometimes get mixed up. The Steve who did Thundercats — the one who is missing — and I both wrote for animation in the 80’s. I never did Thundercats, but I did do Batman: TAS and Gargoyles and such. As far as I know, The Florida Steve didn’t write novels — Shadows of the Empire is one of mine. He wrote a lot of comics, but I’ve only done one miniseries for Dark Horse, which was a kind of sequel to Star Wars, SOTE. That we both wrote animation and comics tends to be somewhat confusing.

I was sorry to hear about this. That Steve and I exchanged email a while back speaking to the mix-ups.

The Other Steve Perry

Schnitzy Pretzelpants

May 23, 2010 at 9:01 am

Well, it certainly doesn’t look any better, and according to Tampa Bay.Com at least some of my suposition in my earlier post seems to be bearing it out, regrettable as it is. Here’s some of that article – the Carroll, mentioned in the article is Perry’s wife whom he was separated from:

“After Carroll, 26, moved out last year, Perry got two roommates — James and Roxanne Davis, a married couple with lengthy criminal histories. James Davis, 45, served three stints in prison on convictions such as robbery with a deadly weapon and kidnapping. His wife, 49, was a fugitive from the Florida Department of Corrections for skipping out on her felony probation for burglary and grand theft.

Perry and Carroll do not have criminal records in Florida.

At first, authorities reported Perry and the Davis couple as missing. Roxanne and James Davis were found in Dade City Friday and arrested on unrelated charges — drugs for James and violating probation for Roxanne. Both are being held at the Pasco County Jail.

Capt. Robert McKinney of the Zephyrhills Police Department said James and Roxanne Davis are people of interest in the disappearance — and possible murder — of Perry. “

marc andreyko

May 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm

wow, this news just gets worse and worse. when i first heard it, my thought was “crystal meth” and it looks like that’s the case.

r.i.p. mr. perry and my thoughts are with your son and those who loved you.

Dear People Who Are Posting,

Please stop speculating in a way that could ruin the lasting memory of a talented man and kind father.

Speculation about the drug use of a man you never met? Let’s not play that game.

He had tried to file a protection order before his death. Important? Most likely. But I’m not going to throw around unsubstantiated guesses that could hurt his memory for his family and friends.

Even if he DID have a substance abuse problem because he was–yanno–dying painfully from bladder cancer, that does not mean he in any way invited any of these events. Yes, the people who lived with him have a checkered history. Rather than trying to guess further than that, let’s just wait for the police to do their job.

Holy smokes

I just saw him at megacon this year – great guy

Shame on his luck and this is ever worse – sheesh

marc andreyko

May 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm

i was by no means besmirching mr. perry and apologize if in reading my post anyone thought i was implying drug use by him.

my crystal meth reference was to those who (allegedly) committed this crime. meth is a horrible drug that is decimating so many places around the country.

hopefully, justice for mr. perry will be swift and strong.

Damn, I tried to help Mr. Perry with some money and a Hero Initiative hook-up last year. His life had become a living nightmare at that time and didn’t have money for food or electricity for himself and his son.

What a horrible story.

The message is, PLEASE DONATE to Hero Initiative. Steve’s life was made IMMEASURABLY better even with all his hardships because of this organization.

Oh, man, I missed the last update.

This man was in so much pain and despair. What a horrible ending for a talented man.

I spoke with Mr. Perry at some length by email last year. He was definitely estranged from his wife, and desperately seeking help for his son while in the last stages of terminal cancer. He knew his life wasn’t going to end well and all he cared about was getting his son somewhere safe.

I didn’t know the man except for trying to get him some help, but I have to say that my regard for Steve Bissette could not be higher, as Steve had been trying to help Mr. Perry for a long time with support both emotional and financial. And again, please, please, please donate in Mr. Perry’s memory to Hero Initiative. Whatever comforts Mr. Perry had in his last year are completely due to that organization and the people who donated.

I’m going to echo what Gail said.

I hadn’t known Steve over the years (although I am quite fond of some of his work), but over last few months I’d been interacting with him, mainly via email – first with small amounts of charity, then with helping him through straightforward business, buying out the rights to the Salimba work he did with Paul Chadwick, then with buying a new Salimba prose story from him.

Steve struggled hard during those few months, from his physical failures, from problems of access to health care, and from the various other difficulties brought on by lack of money. But through all that, he continued expressed his appreciation for all that his supporters had brought, feeling that he only had a roof over his head and what health care had held him together this long thanks to that support, which came largely from those within the comics community, whether it was old friends like Bissette, or from both pros and fans he had not known, or from the wonderful Hero Initiative. He knew the end was coming (although not in the way it appears to have come), and was doing whatever he could to smooth the path for his son. (That concern permeates he prose story, which he felt was the last he would write; in it, Salimba struggles to care for a child that she is not equipped to handle.) It is such a relief that, whatever has befallen Steve, it has not befallen Leo.

Give to the Hero Initiative – http://heroinitiative.org/ – they’ve got a lot of way to give, some quite painless. If you want to keep up your tough-guy image, they have a variety of cool products you can buy so you can pretend you’re not being charitable when you send them your money. They do a lot of good with what they get.

Nat,

Stephen told me that a publisher had ‘saved’ him in his most desperate time by buying the rights to Salimba. But I didn’t realize that publisher was you.

If it’s even possible, my respect for you has taken yet another leap higher.

People, please, let’s make it a record-breaking week for Hero Initiative. There are other people who made great comics whose situations are equally dire, and HI is one of the few organizations that will help. Stephen thought that HI was a gift from the comics industry, and I know he would love to see people donate in his memory.

Heroinitiative.org

My condolences again to his friends and family, my undying gratitude and respect for the people who tried to help him, all without fanfare or acclaim, like Nat and Steve Bissette.

Gail

DetectiveDupin

May 23, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Fuck man, was taking this man’s life really worth it?

It’s just impossible to contemplate, Dupin. We don’t have ruined hearts like the people who did this.

I had the pleasure to meet Steve at Megacon this year while volunteering at the Hero booth. We exchanged pleasantries a few times throughout the weekend… what a sad and grisly ending. My thoughts and prayers are with family.

This is just sad and breaks my heart. I just don’t understand how people can actually be that horrible. It is just a shame. Here’s hoping he is in a better place!

Holey Crap!! I just watched that HERO vid with him a couple a days ago!

bigmomma.. =D

May 23, 2010 at 10:44 pm

ok, so, i happen to live in zephyrhiils and knowing that this horrofic crime has been done to a wonderful man is a horrible thing. its scary cause i happen to live just a block away from where his severed arm was found and just 2 and a half miles away from his home. you know, i wondered about what happened to his son, and thank god that hes ok, and its good thing that hes with mom, i will be sure to keep them in my prayers….
hes in a much better place now and all that pain and suffering he was going through, is no more……
GOD BLESS YOU MR. PERRY AND MAY YOU REST IN PEACE…..

Please keep us updated with news surrounding this case.

Goddamn shame.

Paul Bathrick

May 24, 2010 at 7:39 am

I live in Zephyrhills too. It was bad enough to know that something this shocking had happened less than a mile from where I live… But when I found out that Mr. Perry had been immersed in the world of comics and science fantasy, and had lived so close, I was filled with a deep sense of regret for not having known the man, or his work.. It’s been really hard to sort rumors from real info, with the whole town buzzing about this, so thanks for compiling all this information and links to so many relevant articles.
This tragedy has gripped so many in this town, and I was pleased to find so many people celebrating this poor man’s life here on this site… So thank you for that. My condolences to all who knew and loved him, God rest his soul.

I just saw him in that video the other day…

How could this happen? Steve was starting to receive much needed help for his illness and financial woes.

I remember him auctioning his Silverhawks comics work on eBay not long ago. He was offering free signatures on everything. It is so hard to believe that Steve could have met with foul play when so many people were trying to help him.

I hope they nail the butchers responsible for this deed. Peace to Steve and his loved ones, everywhere.

I hope the Quality Inn has security cameras. They are flaky for not patrolling the parking lot for vehicles that should not be there.

NOooooooooooooo….so sad! This can’t be right.

@Steve Perry: Thanks for joining the thread and helping to clarify. I’ve noticed that the Steve Perry page on IMDb mixes the two of you up and lists Silverhawks credits alongside Batman, Gargoyles, et al. Wonder if you’d have any more clout getting ahold of IMDb and getting them to fix it…

IMDb’s Thundercats section is simply a mess, with original airdates that appear to have been completely pulled out of somebody’s ass (it claims the last episode aired December 5, 1986, which is odd considering the episode in question has a copyright date of 1988); I believe it’s responsible for the widely-held belief that Thundercats ran for two seasons, when it was actually four. (Even the DVD sets have this wrong, but they’re incredibly shoddy; more on that in a moment.)

Steve Bissette is trying to compile a list of Perry’s credits; I went through my collection and found his name on the following episodes:

The Doomgaze
Safari Joe
Queen of 8 Legs
Feliner (2-parter)
Tight Squeeze
Trapped

There are also 4 episodes missing their title cards on the DVD editions, The Unholy Alliance, Dimension Doom, The Thunder-Cutter, and The Evil Harp of Charr-Nin. I’m almost certain Unholy Alliance was written by Leonard Starr (it forms the second part of the pilot “movie”), but don’t know who wrote the other 3; if anybody can point me in the right direction I’d appreciate it. I have the whole series on VHS from its Cartoon Network run back in the 1990’s, but if there’s an easier way to find out than going through my tapes I’d like to take it.

Would it be appropriate to ask if anyone knows where I can find pre-DVD rips of those episodes? I stress that I own legal copies (both on commercial DVD AND recorded VHS); I’d just like to get digital copies that have the title cards intact.

Once I have a complete list of episode writers, I’ll put it up on my blog and maybe add it to some user-editable sites — online information on Thundercats is regrettably incomplete and inaccurate, and hopefully I can help Perry and the other writers get some recognition.

This article makes it sound as if Perry is a loving father to his poor son. The truth is, Perry has five kids total from three mothers, and he’s completely abandoned some of them. A good friend of mine is raising one of Perry’s sons whom Perry has not seen since shortly after he was born. This boy has never gotten a single visit, phone call, or even a card from Perry. Complete abandonment.

God only knows what his (non-)relationship is like with the other three children.

@Kawai:

Although I can appreciate your POV and personal concerns (which are valid if your comments are accurate) but in either case lets hold off on that right now and just focus on his safety or (hopefully not) his demise.

As an abandoned child myself whose father died of drugs and has never seen him (not even a photo) even I can hold in reserve any thoughts other good will on both his birthday and the anniversary of his death.

Let just deal with such a horrific loss of a life first and then we can examine that life (good or bad) later. Just one step at a time. Please, just for a little while. Thank you and God bless your friend who cares for one of them and they’re safe and okay.

You’re absolutely right, Dr. Guy. I appreciated your thoughtful message and wishes for my friend.

@ Kawai

Thank you and understand I wholly respect your POV. I am always happy to see someone with passion . and I find such a thing in anyone wonderful to behold (regardless of agreement or not). As to your friend, believe me when I say, that as a child who had the benefit of three surrogate mothers and two surrogate fathers to help the void in my life, you will find that I can do nothing but offer my most sincere and humble thanks and admiration to people like your friend. It is not only my pleasure but an honor as well.

Thank you (both of you).

Concerning Steve:

I’m roughly a 15-25 min drive from the location this has happened and I cannot fathom as to why I have not seen this on the news here (I found out about this through various links). Nor did I know of his situation. I most assuredly would have moved him myself. Somehow. Someway.

There are a number of us here from Perez- to Kesel to various comic shop owners that I personally know who would have helped in some way.

We have to be more proactive. Not just in donations to HI (or other organizations), but in knowing what is going on with everyone and making creators understand that pride is irrelevant in this and it’s about getting the help that’s needed (and not at the last minute or after the fact). We have to have a better network to alert us to this before it goes to far (again).

To be sure we have to police ourselves because it would appear no one else will or they just don’t care enough too.

I found out today about Steve’s death and am hear broken. We became good friends and I have a number of emails from him explaining not only his health problems, but the situation with his wife Krystal. From what I read in his emails, she should also be a person of interest. She wanted Leo so bad and the way she treated Steve was terrible. She even hit him as he chased her down the street when she grabbed their son. The police at the time allowed Leo to remain with Steve. He unfortunately allowed her to keep Steve for the weekend, promising to return him on Sunday. She never did and questions have to be asked and answered as tof what really happened. Steve told me that he would allow me to move in with him once he got the 2 people staying with him to leave. Shame on all those involved who could have helped him, but didn’t. I lost a dear friend even though we only knew each other for a short time.

Trevor Campbell

June 5, 2010 at 8:29 am

My name is Trevor. I am a gold buyer. I had a encounter with James Davis the day before Christmas. He called me out to his dead fathers house claiming he would like to sell gold to me so that he could have a Christmas for his family. Davis claimed he was out of work and that him and his wife Roxana had gone through there gold and would like me to come out the day before Christmas. I went out to the address Davis gave me. The address was his dead fathers house. James Davis used the name “David Burk”. I went to the house, got out of the car and James Davis pull a snubbed nosed 38 at me demanding I go to the back of the house. I refused and pulled out $6700. James took the money and left in his green Pontiac. I look up the name David burk, it was his family member 2 blocks away. i called Burk gave description and Burk gave me the name of James Davis. I looked it up on Pasco county jail and saw it was him. I called the police and nothing was done because i chose to find out who did this James Davis killed Perry for sure. After being robbed by him. i went on a gold call telling the person about me being robbed. James Daughter came in the room crying. She stated that I paid for her and her children’s Christmas. She then told me that Her father robbed me. She tried to give me back all of the toys her father bought for her children. I told her to keep them and that all i wanted is to know where her father was and more about him. She told me that here Fathers and Perry were doctor shopping for pills. She stated that her father would take people to the DR. to get pills to sell. She also stated the her father was involved in a armored car robbery with a friend of Davis. She stated that the armored car driver was shot and that the guard shot his partner in the face. She stated that Davis was not charged because Davis was wearing a mask and there was not enough evidence to charge him. She stated that Davis was driving a van he bought from his cousin or family member. She state That his cousins went by the name “SLIM”. I contacted a guy Slim that knew Davis but not the one Davis daughter stated to me. Slim stated to me that Davis has been known to have shot a number of people in the past and that he has never been caught. I went by 8th street address 2 days ago. I looked in the window. There Are a number of empty bleach bottles around the house. Its my thought Davis is trying to cover his tracks by killing DNA with bleach. Also coupled with the fact Davis has evaded the law many time in the past, that i hope he does not get away with this one. I also wish Hillsborough county pursued Davis when he robbed me. Maybe Perry would still be alive. Davis moved in with Perry the day Davis robbed me. After all he got $6700 cash from me. I spoke to the writer of this story today. One of the question asked by this above writer was, “Were there anyone that might have a problem with any of you or have been aggressive with anyone that lived with you.” David James brought me into it, Stating “There was a gold guy that came buy accusing me of robbing him.” Davis indicated to this above writer that it was a case of mistaken identity and that Davis had nothing to do with me. In my opinion James Davis is Narasistic and a Sociopath. I feel Davis has had a lot of jail time there for having the know how to commit crimes and get away with them. it’s truly amazing how people with addictions become so smart to orchestrate crimes in a manner to where they get off the charges.

unlucky stepsister

April 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

James davis may be in prison but has not been charged with this offense as of yet, roxann is free an drugging up daily these two are scum bags!!!!! My mon thinks her baby is innocent, lol, can you say ” delusion”!!! I haven’t been around these ppl for 29 yrs!!!! I think personally think they should BOTH DIE i believe they did it an yes drugs, sex, an what cash they thought they could scam this talanted man who did NOT DESERVE THIS HORRIBLE ENDING OF HIS LIFE!!!!! just saying, i have no sympathy for them on Steves family

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