When Curtis Cunningham answered his cell phone at work March 2, he had no clue where the call would take him.
So began an odyssey that led to his discovery of his close friend’s body and an encounter with the stranger whom police believe killed her.
"I still can’t sleep at night," Cunningham said. “When I close my eyes, I see her face.”
Cunningham, 28, discovered the murdered body of his friend, Dorothy Jean McGuire, 37, in the front seat of the black Kia that belongs to David Andrew Perry, 43, parked in the driveway of a home in the 500 block of North Sparks Street in Burbank.
FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this article misstated a quote from Cunningham. McGuire's father posted that daughter was missing on Facebook. He did not call Cunningham's wife.
Perry sits in the Twin Towers jail awaiting a preliminary hearing on five felony charges that include murder, spousal abuse, making criminal treats and abusing animals. Los Angeles Police are not releasing much of what they know about the case, except that McGuire died near La Tuna Canyon Road and the Foothill (210) Freeway. Then, they say, he drove her body to his parent’s house and left her in the driveway.
Cunningham said his wife called him at his warehouse job that fateful Friday.
“She told me that Dorothy’s father posted on Facebook that his daughter had not come home the night before,” Cunningham said, “and that I should call her boyfriend right away.”
Cunningham did not want to name McGuire’s boyfriend, who is also a close friend.
“He’s really taking it tough. He doesn’t even want to talk with his parents about it,” Cunningham said, adding he is coming forward to dispel rumors about McGuire.
“There have been so many news reports that say she may have died from a drug overdose,” he said. “She wasn’t that kind of a person.”
The Tujunga resident says that he, McGuire and her boyfriend enjoyed going out for a few drinks and having fun, but that she always knew when to quit.
“She would always go home to take care of her daughter,” Cunningham said. “It just wasn’t like her to stay out all night.”
After speaking to his wife, Cunningham says he called McGuire’s boyfriend.
“He told me that, the night before, he, McGuire and Perry had gone out drinking at several bars,” Cunningham said. “They ended up at the Sundowner in Sunland. Her boyfriend said he was tired and wanted to go home.”
Cunningham says he had never heard of David Perry before that phone call, but McGuire’s boyfriend told him that Perry was McGuire’s old friend — like a big brother.
“So her boyfriend decided to go home and leave her with David Perry. That was the last he saw of her,” Cunningham said.
Her boyfriend told Cunningham on the phone that he had driven to the Burbank home at about 4 p.m. the following day, March 2, but there were no cars in the driveway and nobody answered the door. Perry lives at the residence, said police, with his parents.
“I told him that he had to go back to Perry’s house,” Cunningham said.
After work, he and McGuire’s boyfriend drove back to Burbank. When they arrived, they saw Perry’s car in the driveway. Cunningham told his friend to stay in the car.
Cunningham said only after pounding on the door did Perry respond, saying that he didn’t know where McGuire was — that he had left her at the bar the night before. He then closed the door.
McGuire’s boyfriend approached the front porch, Cunningham says, saying he wanted to talk to Perry himself. But Cunningham asked his friend to hang back.
“I was afraid [Perry] wanted to fight the guy,” he said, “so I went back and knocked on the door again.”
Cunningham says he asked for Perry’s phone number so that he could give it to the police when he filed a missing person’s report. Then, he says, Perry went back in the house.
“Her boyfriend said, ‘Let’s look in his car. I’ll go get my flashlight.’” Cunningham walked around to the passenger’s side of the car and saw McGuire in the front seat, apparently asleep, with the seat fully reclined.
“I tapped on the window and called her name,” Cunningham said, “And I even shook the car, but she didn’t wake up. Then I opened the door.”
He says her boyfriend was at the rear of the car. Cunningham says he tried to feel her pulse, but there was none. Things began to get hectic.
“I was trying to talk to the police, look after Dorothy’s boyfriend and worry about whether the guy in the house would come out with a gun or something,” he said.
The paramedics arrived first and said that McGuire was, indeed, dead. The police arrived a few minutes later. By this time, he says, Perry was outside looking confused.
“So I pointed him out to the police and they had him sit down,” Cunningham said. “He crossed his arms and crossed his legs. He looked really heartless.”
Burbank police took Cunningham and McGuire’s boyfriend to the station, separated them and questioned them. Then, he said, Los Angeles Police detectives came and did the same thing with them.
“But they didn’t act like were suspects,” Cunningham said. Eventually the police released them. Since then, Cunningham has been organizing fundraising events to help the victim’s family.
“It’s so sad,” he said. “She had just graduated from college as a pharmacy tech or something like that. She was supposed to have a job interview on the 14th of this month.”