Missing Florida Fireman: Suspect Charged With Murder

PHOTO: Jerry Perdomo
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The man identified as a person interest in the disappearance of Florida firefighter Jerry Perdomo was arrested and charged with murder today, police in Maine said.

Daniel Porter, 24, and his girlfriend, Cheyanne Nowak, are believed to be the last people who saw Perdomo, a husband and father of two who went missing 12 days ago shortly after he traveled in a rental car up the East Coast to visit a friend.

Maine State Police, assisted by Bangor Police, arrested Porter Tuesday at a home in Jackson, Maine, that was rented by Porter's father, according to a news release by the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Police had been testing evidence removed Saturday from the house in Jackson, believed to be the last place Perdomo was seen, according to the Department of Public Safety.

"The work being done at the lab will hopefully give us some of the answers to our questions," Christopher Coleman of the Maine State Police said. "At this point, we remain hopeful, but as days go on, we have to be realistic. We do suspect foul play was involved."

A friend of Perdomo's told Orlando, Fla., ABC affiliate WFTV that Perdomo went to Bangor, Maine, to sell prescription pills, and that he'd mentioned someone named "Daniel" previously.

Perdomo's family told WFTV the firefighter has never used or sold drugs. His wife, Tonya Perdomo, is pleading for her husband's safe return.

"I love him. He is my only love, he is my only love," she said at a news conference Monday. "I just want to talk to him. I just feel like I need to talk to him. I do."

Tonya Perdomo acknowledged that her husband, whose rental car was found abandoned in a Walmart parking lot Feb. 16, made the 1,600-mile trip from Florida to Maine to visit another woman.

"I knew that he had a friend, but he has female friends. I can't comment on the extent of their relationship because I don't know," she said. "My understanding is that he was going to help someone. It would not have been unusual for him to go and help someone because that's what he always did."

WESH-TV interviewed a woman, only identified as Lisa, who said she was the friend Perdomo was visiting. The woman said Perdomo stepped out the evening he disappeared to visit another friend, and said he would return shortly to take her to dinner, but never came back.

Porter and Nowak, 23, reportedly left town after Perdomo's disappearance. The couple bought a used car and abandoned the one they had been driving at the dealership, saying they had to leave town quickly because of an emergency.

Police tracked the couple down at Porter's mother's house in Connecticut Friday, questioned them and impounded their cars, but did not initially call them suspects in Perdomo's disappearance.

Cheyanne Nowak had also posted a cryptic message on her Facebook page: "I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sorry your friend is missing. It is a terrible thing. I am so sorry about this. But I can do nothing further. Night."

Perdomo's firefighter colleagues made a weekend trip to Maine to join his family in searching for him.

Tonya Perdomo said she just wants back the one person to whom she could turn in a crisis.

"I'm not the strong one. He is," she told ABC News, sobbing. "And he would tell me what to do in a situation like this."

ABC News' Olivia Katrandjian, Alyssa Newcomb, Alison Ehrlich and Michael S. James contributed to this report.

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