SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla.,None - WFTV reporter Jeff Deal talked to the mother of a woman on Friday who Bangor police said had contact with Seminole County firefighter Jerry Perdomo before his disappearance.
Perdomo disappeared on Feb. 16 after driving to Bangor, Maine, to visit friends.
Investigators said Perdomo met with Cheyanne Nowak, 23, and Daniel Porter, 24. Police said they are questioning the couple.
Nowak's mother Deb told WFTV that her daughter was not involved in Perdomo's disappearance and that Porter is innocent until proven guilty, but did not say what she thought may have happened.
Deb Nowak, who lives just outside of Bangor in Brooks, also said she didn't know how the couple knew Perdomo.
One week ago, police in Maine found Perdomo's rental car in a Walmart parking lot, but surveillance video isn't clear enough to determine who parked the vehicle.
Even though police remained tight-lipped about where they found the couple or even why investigators wanted to speak with them, Deb Nowak told WFTV the two were questioned, then released at the home of Porter's mother, nearly 400 miles away in Connecticut.
"They went down to Connecticut, that's where they got him," said Deb Nowak. "She's not the one who is of interest. He is."
Deb Nowak defended her daughter and said she doesn't know what connection they have to Perdomo.
She said her daughter does have a prior drug arrest, but it was a misdemeanor that happened five years ago.
"You don't think this is involved with drugs, as far as you know?" asked Deal.
"I have no idea. He doesn't work," said Deb Nowak.
Perdomo's family said they are worried about his safety, but police are calling it a missing person case.
"Do you think he's (Porter) violent or anything?" Deal asked.
"No, not at all. Not violent, very passive," said Deb Nowak.
Meanwhile, Central Florida firefighters traveled to Maine to help search for Perdomo.
Police said they do not have an active search going.
Also on Friday, a local car dealer told WFTV that Porter bought a new, tan Hyundai Elantra on Tuesday, paid with cash and hadn't even seen the car. Porter picked it up at another dealership an hour away, said the car dealer.
The car dealer, from "Lee Credit Now," also said that Perdomo wanted to drop his other car, a white Mitsubishi Lancer, at a local Walmart while he took a trip to Florida.
"He's not proven guilty. That's all I can tell you," said Deb Nowak. "He's just a quiet man, was raised here all his life. Everybody says he's a sweetheart."
The local car dealer said police confiscated the white Lancer for evidence. He also said Porter was disheveled and told the car dealer he had a family emergency.
WFTV obtained Perdomo's personnel file from Seminole County, which shows he joined the Marines in 2001, a few years after he graduated from Deltona High School.
Perdomo was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and was deployed to Iraq before he was honorably discharged in 2005.
The report shows Perdomo became a Seminole County firefighter in 2009.
Perdomo was last seen wearing a back-zip-up hooded sweatshirt, shorts and black sneakers.