The case of a missing Florida firefighter, which has garnered local and national media attention and fueled questions by the public up and down the East Coast, took a tragic turn this week after a Maine man was charged with murder Feb. 28 and a body was found a day later in Newburgh.

Jerry Perdomo, 31, of Orange City, Fla., was last seen or heard from on Feb. 16, when police were told he left the Bangor home of a woman claiming to be his girlfriend, and his wife, in Florida, said he called her and told her he was in a car on a dirt road in Maine.

During the investigation into his disappearance, court documents uncovered that Perdomo and a Maine man, 24-year-old Daniel Porter, were allegedly involved in drug activity, that Porter owed Perdomo $3,000 and that Perdomo had in January been accused of threatening to kill Porter.

Porter, who was arrested at his father’s residence on Hadley Mill Road in Jackson Feb. 28, now stands accused of murdering Perdomo. On the morning of Feb. 29, Perdomo’s body was discovered in the woods off Dahlia Farm Road in Newburgh. The body was found about 9:30 by Maine Warden Norman Lewis and his 3-year-old black Labrador, Clyde, and identified late Wednesday afternoon by the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta.

The case of the missing firefighter turned into a police investigation on Feb. 19, when a woman, Lisa Gould, called the Bangor Police Department to report her “boyfriend” missing. According to the court document, Gould told police he left her residence that morning allegedly in possession of a Glock .45-caliber handgun, his wallet and two cellular phones.

“He was going to meet someone who owed him money,” Gould told the responding officer, according to the court document.

Bangor police then spoke with Tonya Perdomo, the missing man’s wife, by telephone in Florida, who said he left their residence in Florida on Feb. 15 with a rental car and luggage and that she had spoken with him on the evening of Feb. 16, but not since.

A gold Toyota Camry with Florida registration was located in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart on Stillwater Avenue in Bangor on Feb. 20. A video from the Wal-Mart showed the car parked there on Feb. 17 by a lone male, who walked away from it toward Stillwater Avenue, according to the court document.

Cell phone records obtained by Bangor police showed Perdomo’s last two outgoing calls were on Feb. 16. The first was around 6 p.m. to a cell phone number allegedly belonging to Daniel Porter and a minute later, a call was made by Perdomo’s phone to his wife, Tonya.

Perdomo’s wife said that two calls from him were not included on the log they showed her, according to the court document, including a call at 9:41 p.m. on Feb. 16, when he said he was on the dirt road, and another call he placed to her an hour earlier.

The ongoing investigation, including information that Perdomo allegedly had a girlfriend in Bangor, led officers to a complaint that was filed with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office Jan. 8.

In that complaint, according to the affidavit, Porter had called police to report that Perdomo was throwing rocks through the windows of his residence in Newburgh. Penobscot Deputy Jamie Kennedy spoke with both Perdomo and Porter at the time and learned that both subjects had been threatening each other.

“Perdomo stated that he observed Porter with a machine gun and that Porter had threatened to shoot him and put him through a wood chipper,” according to the affidavit. “Porter stated that Perdomo had threatened to cut off his hands and kill him.”

According to the court document, on Feb. 21 police attempted to locate Porter at his Newburgh residence but found it empty of furniture. A neighbor told the officer that Porter lived on Dahlia Farm Road in Monroe. When the officer went to Porter’s father’s home in Jackson, nobody was home and a neighbor there also said the family lived on Dahlia Farm Road in Monroe.

When Perdomo was first reported missing, Bangor police issued a press release asking for the public’s help in locating two people believed to have had contact with Perdomo before he disappeared. Those people were Porter and his girlfriend, Cheyanne Nowak of Brooks.

Unable to locate Porter on Feb. 21, they attempted to locate Nowak, but learned from her step-father that he last saw her and Porter “a couple of days ago,” according to court document. ┬áThe step-father also indicated to police that the couple may have been driving Nowak’s vehicle, having left behind a black Cadillac registered to Porter’s father, Gary Porter, in the Nowak family’s driveway.

According the court document, police viewed videotape belonging to the Bangor Wal-Mart with Perdomo’s wife, who had come to Maine to assist in the investigation. The videotape showed a man walking away from the car after parking it, and Tonya Perdomo told police she “did not feel the person in the video was her husband.”

Jerry Perdomo’s sister also viewed the video, according to the court document, and she too indicated the person in it was not her brother.

When a still photo taken from a different business on Stillwater Avenue was shown to the women, and the male who was seen walking from the car appeared on it, both indicated the person was not Jerry Perdomo.

According to the court document, a male with clothing matching that of the man seen parking Perdomo’s rental car and walking away toward Stillwater Avenue was seen on video at a nearby Hannaford store approaching the entry door and throwing “what appeared to be a plastic bag containing objects into the garbage can located outside the main entrance.”

The male continued into the store and his face was visible and “is consistent with a known photograph of Daniel Porter,” according to the court document, which also indicated that the male on the video was with a female, and she was identified as Nowak, Porter’s girlfriend.

On Feb. 23, investigators searched a large trash container removed from behind the Hannaford in Bangor and taken to PERC in Orrington. A plastic bag allegedly containing a smaller plastic bag was inside, and the smaller bag contained various items, including keys and a paper bag.

The paper bag contained two cellular phones and a black leather wallet. The keys, the court document said, were found to belong to the Toyota that Perdomo rented in Florida.

A day later, Porter and Nowak were located in Connecticut, where police learned Porter’s mother lived.

According to the court document, Nowak was interviewed in Connecticut and told police that on Feb. 16, Porter told her to meet Jerry Perdomo at the Dysart’s in Newburgh, which she did around 6:30 p.m.

“He was driving the gold Toyota and followed her to Hadley Mill Road in Jackson where they met with Porter. [Nowak] said she left around 7 p.m. to pick up her son and Porter and Perdomo were still there, along with the black Cadillac belonging to Porter’s father and the gold Toyota rented by Perdomo. [Nowak] tried to call Porter on his cell phone, but it was off, so she texted Perdomo. She spoke with Porter who told her his phone was off, and Perdomo got her text,” according to the court document.

Nowak also allegedly told police that she arrived back at the Jackson home around 9 p.m., that Perdomo and his car were both gone, and that Porter said Perdomo went to his girlfriend’s residence in Bangor.

“Nowak said she never made it into the house,” according to the court document. “She and Porter got in a brief argument and she left to go to her mother’s house in Brooks for the night while Porter and the black Cadillac were still at the Jackson residence. Porter arrived in Brooks around 3 a.m. on Feb. 17 while driving the black Cadillac.”

Nowak then told police Porter left around 7:30 a.m. that morning driving the Cadillac, “claiming he was going to cut wood. She also told police Porter called her saying he would meet her at the Hannaford in Bangor, which she said she did, and that Porter claimed he had been “dropped off there.”

The court document also said that Nowak told police that Porter’s relationship with Perdomo was business, and that “they were both involved with drug activity.”

During Porter’s interview in Connecticut with the detectives, he confirmed Nowak’s version of how she met up with Perdomo, he followed her back to Hadley Mill Road in Jackson and she departed to pick up her son, adding that he and Perdomo “went for a ride while drinking beer.”

“Porter stated that he was driving Perdomo’s car at this time. That Perdomo dropped Porter off at [Nowak’s residence] in Brooks and Perdomo went to the residence of his girlfriend, [Gould] in Bangor,” said the court document. “Porter said that he was dropped off at Hannaford in Bangor where he met up with Cheyanne and continued with that story even after being confronted with the video that he walked from Wal-Mart.”

Porter also allegedly told police he put a bag of trash in the outer trash can at Hannaford, but would not disclose the contents of the bag. When told that police had retrieved the bag, police reported that “Porter’s eyes welled-up with tears” and that he “would not provide details as to his knowledge of the location and whereabouts of Jerry Perdomo.”

Also in the court document, police in Connecticut allege that prior to the Maine detective’s interview with Porter, Porter stated that “he came to Connecticut to visit his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother because it might be the last time he might see them as a free man. He indicated he expected to be in prison the next time he sees them.”

On this day, it was also noted in the court document that Bangor police went to a local pawn shop and learned that Nowak and Porter allegedly purchased a .357-caliber handgun on Jan. 20. In addition, Porter is alleged to have borrowed a pickup truck belonging to another man on the afternoon of Feb. 17, and that Porter “brought it back a couple of hours later and it was all muddy.”

A Feb. 27 search of the Jackson residence, according to the court document, found evidence of “blood droplets, spatter, what appears to be a piece of skull or bone and evidence of a broken window.” There were also new carpets on the floor “covering an area that tested presumptive positive for blood.”

That same day, the court document said that a forensic chemist at the State Police Crime Lab tested the samples from the Porter residence in Jackson and that all items tested “confirmed positive for human blood.” Those samples were then forwarded to the lab’s DNA section for further analysis.

While police did not have a known blood/DNA sample from Jerry Perdomo, according to the court document, a sample from his father was submitted for comparison and the lab confirmed that the DNA from the evidence sample was male and “consistent with being the offspring of Gerardo Perdomo.” It was confirmed that Gerardo had two sons, Jerry and Alex, and it was subsequently confirmed that Alex was alive and that he denied ever being in Maine.

The court document indicates that the blood samples taken in Jackson were located on an antifreeze bottle under the pool table inside the Porter residence, on the floor near the wood pile, on the floor near the front door and on the floor at the entrance near a trash can.

The court document also indicated that police observed what “appeared to be small metal or lead particles on the window sill and window frame of the large picture window that was broken at the Porter residence in Jackson.

Cheyanne purportedly told police she first observed plastic on the window on Feb. 17.

When questioned again by police of Feb. 28, Porter allegedly said that Perdomo came to Maine and that Porter owed him $3,000.

“Daniel said he and Perdomo were playing pool at his residence in Jackson when Perdomo began making threatening statements toward Daniel and his family,” according to the court document. “Daniel told Det. Strout that Jerry Perdomo is dead and he told his father the location of Perdomo’s body and the gun. Daniel did not tell Det. Strout the location of the body and the gun and Daniel’s father did not want to say either.”

According to a press release late Wednesday afternoon, Perdomo was located in the woods about 90 minutes after a search of property off Dahlia Farm Road in Newburgh that is believed to be owned by relatives of Daniel Porter. The body was found concealed, according to the release, and after confirming it was human remains, it was packaged and transported to the state lab, where the identification was confirmed.

An autopsy is expected to begin until Friday, at the earliest, according to the release. Porter is due to make his first court appearance in Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast Thursday afternoon, March 1. He is currently being held in Waldo County Jail.

Additional reporting by Tanya Mitchell and Steve Fuller