Police find body in search for missing Florida firefighter

Maine State Police brief the press on the search and recovery of Jerry Perdomo's body by Maine State Police and game wardens on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 about a half mile in the woods off Dahlia Farm Road in Newburgh.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Maine State Police brief the press on the search and recovery of Jerry Perdomo's body by Maine State Police and game wardens on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 about a half mile in the woods off Dahlia Farm Road in Newburgh.
By Heather Steeves and Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 29, 2012, at 9:49 a.m.

The updated story is available by clicking here.

NEWBURGH, Maine — Police searching for missing Florida firefighter Jerry Perdomo discovered a body in woods off the Dahlia Farm Road in Newburgh, the Maine State Police said Wednesday. The body has not been identified.

The body was found about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday on property that is owned by relatives of murder suspect Daniel Porter, 24, of Bangor. Porter was arrested Tuesday for the murder of Perdomo, 31, after police found blood drops and skull fragments in a Jackson home rented by Porter’s father, according to a state police report released Wednesday.

The body, which was concealed, was found by a Maine game warden and his dog about half a mile from the Dahlia Farm Road, near the Monroe town line, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The body was transported to the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta for identification and autopsy, McCausland said.

A state police affidavit filed Wednesday in Waldo County Superior Court said Porter told police that Perdomo was dead and that he knew where the body and the gun used to kill him were, but refused to give that information to police. Porter’s father apparently also knew the location of the body and gun, but would not say, the affidavit stated.

Police have said the case is a drug-related homicide. Porter told police that he owed Perdomo $3,000, the affidavit said. The two both went to the Jackson home on Feb. 16 and played pool when an argument broke out.

Porter said that “Perdomo began making threatening statements toward Daniel and his family,” the police report states.

It’s unclear where Perdomo went after the fight, but when Porter’s girlfriend showed up around 9 p.m. that same night, Perdomo and his car were gone.

In the Jackson home, “crime scene technicians found evidence of blood droplets, spatter, what appears to be a piece of skull or bone and evidence of a broken window. There were new carpets on the floor covering an area that tested presumptive positive for blood,” said the affidavit, filed Wednesday by state police Detective Darryl Peary.

When police tested the blood against Perdomo’s father’s DNA for comparison, the samples were consistent with belonging to a father and offspring, the report states. Perdomo does have a brother, police wrote, but the brother told police he had never been to Maine.

When police searched the home, they also found a broken window with lead or metal pieces embedded in the window sill.

Police said previously they believed that Porter was one of the last people to have had contact with Perdomo — a firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Seminole County Fire Department in Florida— who went missing Feb. 16. His rental car was found abandoned at the Bangor Walmart the next day.

The two men had a tempestuous relationship, according to the affidavit.

Both Porter and Perdomo complained to the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office about the other in January. Perdomo told police that “he observed Porter with a machine gun and that Porter threatened to shoot him and put him through a wood chipper. Porter stated that Perdomo threatened to cut his hands off and kill him,” Peary wrote.

Around that same time, Porter filed a complaint with the sheriff’s office that Perdomo had been throwing rocks through a window of his Newburgh home.

At the scene in Newburgh on Wednesday, Perdomo’s brother-in-law Chris Lerch of Florida told firefighters that he appreciated their efforts.

“What people don’t see is how much it means to us that you’re here,” he said.

“We’re a big family,” a Bangor firefighter said in response.

Newburgh resident Wendy Kennedy, who lives just up the hill from where the body was found, came outside to see what was happening with all the police Wednesday morning.

She said her husband called her about the police down the hill while she was working overnight at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast.

“I had no idea it was this close to home,” Kennedy said.

She said her family and neighbors “kind of keep to themselves” in the rural village.

But she said she knows Porter’s girlfriend, Cheyanne Nowak, 25.

“I worked with Cheyanne” at the hospital, Kennedy said. “It was a few years ago, before she had her kid. She worked in the kitchen. She was a good kid — very talkative, very friendly.”

Kennedy said she never met Porter.

Porter’s first court appearance is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday in Belfast.

For more information as this story develops keep checking bangordailynews.com

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this article misstated the day the police report was released. It was released Wednesday morning, not Tuesday morning.

An earlier version of this article misstated where police said they found blood and skull fragments. The evidence was allegedly found in a Jackson home, not in a pick-up truck.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/02/29/news/state/investigation-into-missing-fla-firefighter-revealed-blood-skull-fragments-but-no-body/ printed on July 30, 2014