SEARCH

Entries in Maine (40)

Monday
Feb272012

Police Suspect Foul Play in Case of Missing Florida Firefighter

Comstock/Thinkstock(BANGOR, Maine) -- Foul play is suspected in the case of a Florida firefighter who vanished 11 days ago after driving 1,600 miles from Florida to visit a friend, state police say.

Jerry Perdomo, a 31-year-old husband and father of two, 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.

Police searched a home in Jackson, Maine, this weekend, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.  The home is believed to be the last place Perdomo was seen.  Evidence gathered from inside the house will be taken to the state police crime lab in Augusta for analysis.

The home is owned by the father of Daniel Porter, who police believe had contact with Perdomo prior to his disappearance.

WESH-TV interviewed a woman who was identified as Lisa, who said she was 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, Perdomo’s rental car was found abandoned in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

Police tracked down and questioned Porter, 24, and Cheyanne Nowak, 23, at Porter’s mother’s house in Connecticut on Friday.  The couple had left their car, bought a used one and left Maine, leaving their families perplexed.

Nowak 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.”

The couple has now returned to Maine, according to McCausland.

State police have impounded three vehicles in connection with the disappearance: Perdomo’s rental car, a car left behind at an Oakland car dealer by the couple after another vehicle had been purchased there, and a vehicle owned by Porter, according to McCausland.

Police also searched a dumpster near the Wal-Mart where Perdomo’s car was found, McCausland said.

Meanwhile, Perdomo’s fellow Florida firefighters aren’t giving up.  Two arrived in Maine to try to find their missing friend and colleague.

“We’re going to go out there and walk and pound the pavement.  The fire department has offered to do anything that we need to, to make sure this a productive effort,” said Lt. Dave Williams, vice president of the Seminole County Professional Firefighters in Florida.

The firefighters are canvassing the woods in the area where Perdomo disappeared, looking for clues.  They join Perdomo’s sister and father, who came up to Maine from New York.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb262012

Florida Firefighters Go to Maine to Find Missing Colleague

Comstock/Thinkstock(BANGOR, Maine) -- Two Florida firefighters arrived in Maine to try to find their missing friend and colleague, Jerry Perdomo, who vanished 10 days ago after driving the 1,600 miles from Florida to visit a friend.

Jerry Perdomo, 31, husband and father of two, 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.

“We’re going to go out there and walk and pound the pavement. The fire department has offered to do anything that we need to, to make sure this a productive effort,” said Lt. Dave Williams, vice president of the Seminole County Professional Firefighters in Florida. “He’s a family man, he always talks and brags about his family, his kids and his wife. He’s always got that glimmer in his eye when he talks about them. So for something like this where he comes up here and just not to be heard from is totally uncharacteristic of him.”

The firefighters are canvassing the woods in the area where Perdomo disappeared, looking for clues. They join Perdomo’s sister and father, who came up to Maine from New York.

“My dad cried really hard last night when it was snowing because he was just praying he was someplace warm and safe,” said Skye Ramos, Perdomo’s sister.

WESH-TV interviewed a woman who was identified as Lisa, who said she was 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.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb252012

Mystery of Florida Firefighter’s Disappearance Deepens

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- 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 and Porter exhibited peculiar behavior. After Perdomo was reported missing, the couple 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.

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.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb042012

Ayla Reynolds: Windows Broken at Missing Maine Toddler’s House

ABC News(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- Two windows were smashed at the home of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds, police said Saturday.

Officers responded to a 911 call at the Waterville, Maine, home around 11:15 p.m. Friday night after Reynolds’ grandmother, Phoebe DiPietro, said she heard someone throwing things through windows at the house.

“No rocks or thrown objects were recovered, leading officers to believe that the windows were damaged by a bat or some other object that was carried away from the scene,” Waterville Police said in a statement.

Police conducted a search of the surrounding area, but it did not turn up any leads.

The 20-month-old has been missing from her home since Dec. 17.

Reynolds’ father, Justin DiPietro, 24, told police he last saw his daughter when he put her to bed that night.

Police have classified the disappearance as a crime and have found traces of Ayla’s blood in a basement her father had been using as a bedroom.

“What [police] were unwilling to confirm to the press, but left to our discretion, is that it has already been determined to be Ayla’s blood,” the statement said. “Even in light of this evidence we are more determined than ever to find out what has happened to Ayla and we still cling to the hope that she is alive and will be returned to us. We urge anyone that has information about Ayla to come forward now and unburden yourself of the truth.”

Officials searched parts of the Kennebec River Friday, but did not find anything new.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan312012

Missing Maine Toddler: Adults Withholding Info, Police Say

ABC News(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- Police investigating the disappearance of Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds have turned their focus to the three adults who were in the home with the girl the night she was last seen, saying that the evidence doesn't point to an abduction.

In what is being called the most intense investigation launched in Maine within the last decade, state police are now saying they believe the adults inside the house the night Ayla disappeared know more than what they're saying.  Investigators are dismissing the basic premise that Ayla's father Justin DiPietro has suggested all along that his 20-month-old was abducted on Dec. 17.

"We have searched that home and we have found not one piece of evidence to lead us to believe Ayla was abducted," Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said.  "We think one or all three of the adults have info they haven't told us and we need that info in order to find Ayla."

Recently, police revealed that evidence found at the home includes Ayla's blood, which was discovered in the partially-finished basement that her father used as his bedroom.  While investigators will not say how much blood was discovered, they told Ayla's mother Trista Reynolds that it was "more than a small cut would produce."

"There was blood found and it wasn't just a small amount … I don't want it to be real," she said.

Trista Reynolds, 23, was in a substance abuse rehabilitation program at the time of her daughter's disappearance, and baby Ayla had been placed in her father's care while she was seeking treatment.

On the night that the girl was last seen, DiPietro, 24, and his girlfriend, along with her small child, were allegedly in the basement of the Waterville home.  DiPietro's sister was also in the house, along with her young child, in a bedroom on the main level, while Ayla was reportedly in an adjacent bedroom by herself.  DiPietro's mother was not at home that night.

"The adults inside that home say someone came into the house -- a small home -- went into a bedroom Ayla normally doesn't sleep in, took her, vanished in the night -- and not one of them heard or saw anything," McCausland said.

At a vigil for baby Ayla over the weekend where the child's parents saw each other for the first time since her disappearance, DiPietro refused to comment.

"I'm not here to answer any questions," he said.

While police say that DiPietro has been cooperating with the investigation, they say someone isn't telling the whole truth.

Police have not named DiPietro a suspect, or even a person of interest.  They say they have ruled no one out and no one in, and that they are no closer to solving this case than they were on the morning of Dec. 17 when Ayla was reported missing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan302012

Ayla Reynolds Case: Blood Found in Home Belongs to Missing Girl

ABC News(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- Blood discovered in the home of the father of missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds did come from the girl and was, "more blood than a small cut would produce," the girl's family says investigators told them.

The family of the missing girl posted on the website set up to help find the 20-month-old on Sunday, sharing the details that investigators told them about the scene where the tot disappeared from her crib in December.

"What [police] were unwilling to confirm to the press, but left to our discretion, is that it has already been determined to be Ayla's blood," the statement said. "Even in light of this evidence we are more determined than ever to find out what has happened to Ayla and we still cling to the hope that she is alive and will be returned to us.  We urge anyone that has information about Ayla to come forward now and unburden yourself of the truth."

Ayla Bell Reynolds' father, Justin DiPietro, told police last month that he believed his daughter was snatched from the bedroom of the Waterville, Maine home she shared with him between her 8 p.m. bed time on Dec. 17 and when he checked her bedroom in the morning.

Within days what began as the search for a missing child turned into a criminal probe, after investigators discovered blood in the basement of the home.  The fact that blood was discovered in the home has only recently been revealed, as it, "would have interfered with the investigation," said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

DiPietro, 24, and Trista Reynolds, 23, Ayla's mother, who does not live in the home and was forced by Child Protective Services to place Ayla in DiPietro's full-time care when she checked into rehab, have taken police-administered lie-detector tests.

Reynolds told ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston that the test administrator concluded that she could not complete the test because of a medical condition.

DiPietro has said publicly that he passed the test, though Maine State Police would not comment on his claim.

No one has been charged in the case, which has included law enforcement's aerial and foot searches of an icy river near DiPietro's home and the draining of a local stream.  The searches have yielded no clues.  A $30,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Ayla.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan292012

Missing Toddler: Parents Meet for First Time Since Disappearance

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- The parents of missing Maine toddler Ayla Bell Reynolds met at a vigil Saturday for the first time since their daughter's disappearance, as police waited for test results for blood found in the toddler's father's home.

Blood was found in the Maine home from which the 20-month-old toddler disappeared on Dec. 17, according to her father, Justin DiPietro.

But DiPietro isn't talking.

"I'm not here to answer any questions, just to support Ayla," DePietro said at the vigil.

"Me and state police have the same questions and answers, you know what I mean, just…the answers to those questions…and I'm not the person for that. Those questions are for Justin, not me," said Trista Reynolds, the toddler's mother.

Police have not yet named DePietro a suspect, or even a person of interest, in the case. No one has been charged in the case, which has included law enforcement's aerial and foot searches of an icy river near DiPietro's home and the draining of a local stream.

The searches have yielded no clues. A $30,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Ayla.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan292012

Ayla Reynolds Case: Blood Found in Maine Home of Missing Baby

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- Blood was found in the Maine home from which a 20-month-old toddler, according to her father, disappeared on Dec. 17, ABC affiliate WCVB reported.

Ayla Bell Reynolds' father, Justin DiPietro, told police in December that he believed his daughter was snatched from the bedroom of the Waterville home between her 8 p.m. bedtime and when he checked her bedroom in the morning.

Within days, however, what began as the search for a missing child turned into a criminal probe after investigators discovered blood in the basement of the home, a fact which is only now being made public.

Releasing that detail earlier "would have interfered with the investigation," said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Forensic investigators are still working to determine the source of the blood and how long it had been in the basement. Both DiPietro, 24, and Trista Reynolds, 23, Ayla's mother, who does not live in the home and was forced by Child Protective Services to place Ayla in DiPietro's full-time care when she checked into rehab, have taken police-administered lie-detector tests.

Reynolds told WCVB that the test administrator concluded that she could not complete the test because of a medical condition.

DiPietro said publicly that he passed the test, though Maine State Police would not comment on his claim.

Reynolds previously alleged that her daughter was bruised the last time she saw her, though DiPietro countered that those claims amounted to "accusation and insinuations."

"I would never do anything to hurt my child," he said.

"Daddy's Princess" was inscribed on the polka-dotted pajamas Ayla was wearing when she disappeared. Also, she wore a soft cast to protect a broken left arm.

No one has been charged in the case, which has included law enforcement's aerial and foot searches of an icy river near DiPietro's home and the draining of a local stream. The searches have yielded no clues. A $30,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Ayla.

"We remain hopeful that we will bring her back to her home," public safety spokesman McCausland said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec312011

Missing Maine Toddler Ayla Reynolds: Police Suspect Foul Play 

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Me.) -- Maine authorities investigating what happened to toddler Ayla Reynolds now believe foul play was involved in her disappearance.

"We base our conclusions on evidence gathered by investigators during the past two weeks. This case has evolved from the search for a missing child to a criminal investigation," Waterville Police Department Chief Joseph Massey said in a statement tonight.

Ayla has been missing since Dec. 17.

Earlier this week, a $30,000 reward was being offered for information in the case. Investigators searched for the toddler through the holiday weekend. Police said they believe that additional leads that came in over the weekend were prompted by the coverage of the case on "America's Most Wanted."

The leads, however, have not yet led to any suspects and authorities are conscious of the time that has passed since Ayla was last seen.

"In most missing person cases, the longer the investigation goes on the more concerned we become that we can find the person safe, particularly when the case involves the most vulnerable members of our community such as children and seniors," Massey said earlier.

According to police, Ayla's father, Justin DiPietro, 24, said he put the child to bed the night of Dec. 16 in his home and awoke the next morning to find her missing. Police have said several other adults were in the home, including one nonrelative.

Reynolds was living with her father while the girl's mother, Trista Reynolds, 23, was in rehab for substance abuse.

Trista Reynolds' family said that the 20-month-old had been taken from their custody by the Department of Health and Human Services and placed with her father. Reynolds said the baby, who broke her arm at her father's house two weeks before she disappeared, had begun showing mysterious bruising on her leg.

While DiPietro did not comment on the girl's alleged injuries, he disputed the Reynolds family's account of Ayla's custody.

"Ayla was in my sole custody at the time of her disappearance per agreement between her mother and I, because she was unable to care for Ayla," he said in the statement, his first public comment since he reported Ayla missing. "I have shared every piece of information with the police."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec212011

Missing Maine Toddler Ayla Reynolds Had Unstable Home Life

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- Details of an unstable home life have emerged in the case of missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds, who vanished from her father's house Friday night.

Reynolds was reported missing Saturday morning by her father, Justin DiPietro, who told police he put the 20-month-old to bed on Friday night and found her missing the next morning.  The girl had been placed in his custody just weeks before by the Department of Health and Human Services because her mother, Trista Reynolds, had entered rehab for substance abuse, according to Trista Reynolds' relatives.

The toddler's grandmother, Becka Hanson, told the Morning Sentinel newspaper that she had been watching Ayla while her daughter, Trista, was in rehab, but that Ayla was taken by the DHS and placed with DiPietro.  Trista's other child, a 9-month-old, remained in the Reynolds' family custody.

Trista and her 9-month-old son are currently living in a motel in South Portland, according to Hanson.  Trista Reynolds had filed to regain custody of her daughter on Dec. 15, the day before the disappearance.  She told ABC News that DiPietro did not know she had filed the paperwork.

According to Trista's step-sister, the missing girl had recently broken her arm at her father's house and had begun showing bruises on her skin, the Morning Sentinel reported.

Waterville police chief Joseph Massey has said the girl broke her arm during an accidental fall.

Police are continuing their search for the girl after canvasses of a nearby river and aerial searches turned up nothing.  Massey said the police are following every lead that comes in from the public, and have not ruled out abduction.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio