Police confirm that <i>ThunderCats</i> writer Stephen Perry was murdered

Police in Zephyrhills, Florida, have confirmed that ThunderCats writer Stephen Perry, who has been missing for more than two weeks, is the victim of an apparent homicide.

His van was discovered on May 16 at a Tampa motel, reportedly near a severed arm. More remains were found in a dumpster at a gas station two miles from his ransacked home. Perry's roommates, James Davis, 45, and Roxanne Davis, 49, were missing as well. However, police later arrested the couple on unrelated charges. They're now considered "persons of interest" in the case.

Perry, 56, suffered from bladder cancer and had been jobless, without health care and, for a time, forced to live in his van with his 5-year-old son Leo. Over the past eight months he received assistance from the Hero Initiative, which helped him to line up work and pay rent, utilities and medical bills.

The Tampa Tribune reports that Krystal Carroll, his 26-year-old ex-girlfriend and the mother of Leo, was told on May 19 that Perry was dead. The two had a tumultuous relationship, with Carroll seeking emergency custody of their son and Perry getting a domestic violence injunction against her, all in late April.

Earlier this week the newspaper spoke with Perry's longtime friend, artist Steve Bissette, who had been instrumental in bringing the writer's plight to the attention of the comics industry. Since Perry was reported missing, Bissette has devoted his blog to remembering his friend's life and career and tracking news reports of his disappearance.

Perry was 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. Nat Gertler revealed that, to help the writer, he recently purchased the rights to Salimba, the jungle-heroine comic that Perry created in the 1980s with Paul Chadwick.

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