The disappearance of a Florida firefighter 1,600 miles from home and the perplexing behavior of a couple he reportedly had contact with has baffled investigators, who have found no signs of foul play.
Jerry Perdomo, 31, rented a car and made the trek from Central Florida to visit a friend in Bangor, Maine. He hasn’t been seen since Feb. 16.
WESH-TV interviewed a woman who was identified as Lisa, who purported to be the friend Perdomo was visiting. The woman said Perdomo stepped out the evening he disappeared to visit a friend and said he would return shortly to take her to dinner.
He never did.
The next day, the married father’s rental car was found abandoned in a Walmart parking lot with no signs of foul play.
“This case is a mystery because it has a lot of moving parts that at least we cannot connect at this point,” said Brad Garrett, an ABC News contributor and former FBI special agent. “We don’t know if something has happened to this firefighter. We don’t know if he’s just disappeared on his own.”
Police tracked down and questioned Daniel Porter, 24, and Cheyanne Nowak, 23, at Porter’s mother’s house in Connecticut on Friday. The Maine couple may have had some form of contact with Perdomo prior to his disappearance, police said.
Nowak’s mother Deb Nowak defended her daughter in an interview with ABC News affiliate WFTV.
“She’s a full-time honor student and works part-time at the mall, why would she risk everything she’s worked for and be involved in something like this?” Deb Nowak.
She said that police considered Porter as the person of interest, not her daughter.
“I don’t know much about him,” Nowak said, but added that Porter is very quiet and came from a good family.
“I can’t say much else, this is all speculation,” Nowak said. “He hasn’t been proven guilty or innocent of anything.”
Nowak told WFTV that her daughter has a misdemeanor drug arrest five years ago, but said she does not know if drugs are involved in this case. She also denied her daughter had any involvement with Perdormo’s disappearance.
Deb Nowak also said in an interview that the couple was staying with Porter’s mother in Connecticut. She said she’s never heard of Perdormo but that she didn’t think he was a friend of Porter’s because “he doesn’t have many friends and is usually very tight knit.”
After Perdomo was reported missing, Porter and Cheyanne Nowak reportedly bought a used car and abandoned the one they were driving, telling an employee at the car lot that they had to leave town because of an emergency.
Cheyanne Nowak 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.”
Two of Perdomo’s firefighter friends are now traveling to Maine to assist in the search, NECN reported.