Published: May 28, 2010 5:25 PM EDT
Updated: May 28, 2010 2:25 PM EDT

ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (AP) - Police in a small town near Tampa say a former writer for the 1980s cartoon series "Thundercats" was killed.

Stephen Perry's van was found abandoned at a Tampa hotel May 16, with a severed body part nearby.

The Zephyrhills mayor has said it was an arm, but police declined to provide details - including whether Perry's body had been found or why they declared him a homicide victim Thursday.

Perry's home was found ransacked, and two roommates were also missing. They have since been arrested on unrelated charges but called "persons of interest."

Perry's wrote for numerous comics, like "Timespirits," and scripted the "Silverhawks" cartoon -- but friends say he never made much money. He was recently broke and had trouble finding health care for his potentially fatal bladder cancer.