NEWBURGH, Maine (AP) — A Maine man owed $3,000 to the Florida firefighter he is suspected of killing and told police the firefighter threatened him and his family during a game of pool, according to an arrest warrant.
Jerry Perdomo, a Seminole County firefighter and married father of two, disappeared in Maine on Feb. 16. A police investigation began three days later, after a woman described as Perdomo’s girlfriend told police in Bangor that she last saw him Feb. 16 with a handgun and that he told her he was going to meet someone who owed him money.
Police say that someone was Daniel Porter, 24, who is scheduled to make an initial court appearance Thursday in Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast to face a murder charge.
According to the affidavit, Porter told police Perdomo was dead but would not say where his body was. Maine State Police said they found the body after a search with police dogs Tuesday night and Wednesday morning on property owned by Porter’s relatives in woods in rural Newburgh.
The Maine medical examiner identified the body as Perdomo’s, but investigators did not say how he died. An autopsy will not begin until Friday at the earliest.
Police said they found blood samples likely matching Perdomo’s DNA at a home where Porter was living in the small central Maine town of Jackson, about 16 miles from the town where Perdomo’s body was found.
Police also said in the affidavit that Porter and Perdomo were involved in drugs and had exchanged death threats in January. Porter complained to police that a man he believed was Perdomo had thrown rocks at his house.
“Perdomo stated that he observed Porter with a machine gun and that Porter threatened to shoot him and put him through a wood chipper,” according to the affidavit. “Porter stated that Perdomo threatened to cut off his hands and kill him.”
Christopher MacLean, Porter’s attorney, didn’t immediately return a message left Wednesday at his office by The Associated Press.
The affidavit cites evidence showing that Porter drove Perdomo’s rented car to a Wal-Mart store in Bangor and abandoned it, and threw a bag containing Perdomo’s wallet, cellphones and keys into a trash container behind a supermarket.
Records also show that Porter and his girlfriend had purchased a handgun at a pawn shop on Jan. 20.
In Florida, Seminole County Fire Chief Leeanna Mims issued a statement saying the department’s thoughts and prayers were with the Perdomo family.
“This is a sad and extremely difficult time for the family and his co-workers,” Mims said.
State police investigators said they would reveal no information beyond what was included in the affidavit.
Asked if state police had contacted drug-investigation agencies, state police Lt. Christopher Coleman said, “The investigation is very active and this is one of the pieces we are looking at.” Coleman, speaking at a news conference about a half-mile from where the body was found, said additional charges have not been ruled out.
Earlier this week, in an interview from her home in Orange City, Fla., Perdomo’s wife, Tonya, described the 31-year-old father of 3- and 10-year-old children as “a dedicated dad. He helps people out a lot.”
Perdomo had left Florida in a rental car and told his wife he was going to see friends in Maine, which she said was not unusual because the former serviceman had friends from all over.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.