Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

David Rhodes

Real Name: David Lawrence Rhodes
Aliases: David Rhodes, Dr. David Rhodes
Wanted For: Abduction
Missing Since: February 26, 1988


Details: David Rhodes and Penny Moore began dating in 1982 when they both worked in Denver, Colorado. She was a counselor for the physically disabled and he was a resident in anesthesiology. She learned that he had been married four times, but he claimed that it was the "wife's fault" each time. Because he appeared to be a nice and caring man, she believed him. Eight months after they started dating, they married. They then moved to Moorehead City, North Carolina.
Within two years, David and Penny had a son, David Jr., and a daughter, Keelan. Although they appeared to be a happy family, Penny claims that they were not. She alleges that on multiple occasions, David's violent temper exploded without warning. She claimed that he had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type personality; he was nice and happy in public, but was abusive and violent in private.
In public, David maintained his image as a loving family man and successful physician. At first, his coworkers thought that he did his job well. However, they later began receiving complaints from patients about billing, double-charging, and charging for services that he wasn't physically present for. The nurses also complained about his lack of reliability. Some coworkers also recalled his mood swings. In one moment, he would be happy and laughing, but in the next, he would be enraged.
In 1986, the hospital cancelled David's contract. According to Penny, the abuse increased. One day, he came into the kitchen with a hammer and smashed most of the ceramic tiles on the countertops. He then smashed and broke the double oven doors and the microwave. After that, he smashed the stove-top and ripped some of the wallpaper off the walls. David Jr. and Keelan began to scream in fear and Penny feared that he would hit her next. She also witnessed David Jr. hitting Keelan and saying that it was okay because "Daddy does this to Mommy".
In September 1987, the marriage finally collapsed and Penny fled with David Jr. and Keelan to her parents' home in Ohio. A North Carolina court gave her sole custody of David Jr. and Keelan. It also granted David temporary weekend visitation rights. The court ordered him to be chaperoned by his stepfather during the visits. Penny trusted his stepfather, but still feared for David Jr. and Keelan's safety. However, she knew that she had no choice but to follow the court order.
On February 26, 1988, David picked up David Jr. and Keelan for a weekend visit. He told Penny that they were going to visit his sister in Florida. He claimed that he would return on March 1. Before he left, he asked her to look over a revised custody proposal. On Monday night, he called her and said that he was out of the country with David Jr. and Keelan. He told her that unless she'd sign the proposal and file it legally, she would never see them again. She told him that she would do so, but he said she had to do everything he said before she could see them again.
Penny filed missing persons reports for David Jr. and Keelan with the Stark County Sheriff's Department. She also swore out a complaint against David. Investigators believe that he planned the abduction well in advance. They discovered that he was using three different dates of birth and three different social security numbers. They also found evidence that he may have indeed left the country. Penny now fears for David Jr. and Keelan's safety due to David's violent streaks and history of abuse.
Investigators have found evidence that David was in Canada in 1988. However, they believe that he is now back in the United States with David Jr. and Keelan.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 10, 1989 episode. It was excluded from Amazon Prime episodes.
Results: Captured. David saw the broadcast and decided to surrender to authorities. They were living in Toronto under assumed names. In July 1989, David Jr. and Keelan were reunited with Penny in New Jersey. In May 1990, she decided to drop the felony abduction charges against David.