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Authorities arrest roommates of missing Zephyrhills writer

ZEPHYRHILLS — Two roommates missing since authorities linked them to an abandoned van — with a body part found nearby — were detained at a Pasco County jail Friday night.

Still unaccounted for: a third roommate, who was a screenwriter for the 1980s cartoon series Thundercats.

Police have been searching for Stephen J. Perry, 56, Roxanne D. Davis, 49, and James W. Davis, 46, since their home at 38046 Eighth Ave. was found ransacked on Sunday, said Zephyrhills police Capt. Rob McKinney.

Statewide agencies were notified to be on the lookout for the three people, and Hills­borough deputies confirmed they were assisting Zephyrhills police. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement mobile lab was included in processing the scene.

On Friday night, both Davises were being held after Pasco County sheriff's deputies arrested them at a location that was not disclosed.

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.

Both were being held at the Land O'Lakes jail.

Perry, still missing, was described as 6 feet 2 and 160 pounds. Known by fans as an original writer for the Thundercats TV show and comic books like Timespirits, Perry visited an Orlando comic book convention in March, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Perry said he had contracted bladder cancer and could not work, forcing him and his son Leo, 5, to live in his car before a California charity called the Hero Initiative granted him money.

"I'm not entirely out of the woods, but I've started to write again," Perry was quoted as saying. "I've been given hope again."

In a letter posted in November on thundercatslair.org, a user named "Steve Perry" said the Eighth Avenue home belonged to his ex-brother in law and was in foreclosure.

Perry and his son filed for a protective order against a woman late last month, Pasco court records show. That request was dismissed when Perry didn't appear at the hearing May 13, three days before the house was found ransacked.

Police gave no account of Leo's location Friday.

The investigation was touched off Sunday after Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies found a van abandoned in a parking lot at the Quality Inn at Bearss Avenue and Interstate 275.

The van apparently had been there a few days. Deputies ran the tag and discovered it belonged to a person in Zephyrhills.

Deputies searched around the motel and said they discovered a human body part.

They notified Zephyrhills police.

Neither Perry nor James Davis have been in trouble with the law, state records show. Roxanne Davis has been convicted of burglary, passing worthless checks and two separate cases of grand theft, most recently in 2008.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Contact Drew Harwell at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6244. Contact Molly Moorhead at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

Authorities arrest roommates of missing Zephyrhills writer 05/21/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 22, 2010 9:37am]
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