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, the two married. They then moved to Moorehead City, North Carolina.
Within two years, they had a son David J. 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 co-workers 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 co-workers 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 counter-tops. 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 of the walls. The children began to scream in fear and Penny feared that he would hit her next. Penny also witnessed David Jr. hitting his sister and saying that it was okay because "Daddy does this to Mommy".
In September of 1987, the marriage finally collapsed and Penny fled with the children to her parent's home in Ohio. A North Carolina court gave her sole custody of the children. It also granted David temporary weekend visitation rights. The court ordered him to be chaperoned by his stepfather during the visits. Penny trusted the stepfather, but still feared for the safety of her children. However, she knew that she had no choice but to follow the court order.
On Friday, February 26, 1988, David picked up the children for a weekend visit. He told Penny that they were going to visit his sister in Florida. He claimed that he would return on Tuesday, 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 the children. He told her that unless she'd sign the proposal and file it legally, she would never see the children again. She told him that she would sign it, but he said she had to do everything he said before she could see them again.
Penny filed missing persons reports for her children with the Stark County Sheriff's Department. She also swore out a complaint against her husband. Investigators believe that David 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 her childrens' 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 his children.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 10, 1989 episode.
Results: Captured. David saw the Unsolved Mysteries broadcast and decided to surrender to authorities. They were living in Toronto under assumed names. In July of 1989, David Jr. and Keelan were reunited with their mother in New Jersey. In May of 1990, Penny decided to drop the felony abduction charges against her husband.