Sometime around January 27th, Darryl Fornatora, a 46-year-old from Palm Beach, vanished without a trace while on a surf trip in the Dominican Republic. Now, nearly three months later, officials have made the first break in the case. Fornatora’s wallet was found by a local diver in Cabarete. In it, there was his credit cards, a driver’s license, and hundreds of dollars in cash, reportedly with burn marks.
The story of Fornatora’s disappearance is a strange one, and one that, according to his family, has changed several times. The missing man checked into his accommodations in Cabaret on January 25th, along with his friend and travel partner Matt Rigby. He went for a surf, then texted his mother to tell her he’d arrived safely. Then she never heard from him again. From there, the story gets stranger. Although the pair was scheduled to fly home together on January 31st, Rigby changed his flight, returning to Florida on Jan. 28th, along with Fornatora’s computer and surfboard. The next day, he called Mrs. Fornatora and told her that he hadn’t had any contact since Jan. 27th. The details, though, have changed more than once.
The family told Fox News “at one point he claimed that there was no surf and decided to travel home and that Fornatura stayed behind. Then he claimed Fornatora got upset one night as they headed into town and when he looked away from Fornatora for a split second, Fornatora was gone.”
Although the discovery of the wallet is the first piece of real evidence in the disappearance, the family isn’t comforted by it. “I decided I would check Facebook and opened it up and saw the evidence that they have found his wallet,” Darryl’s mother Nancy told WPTV. “Everything was just right out there and I thought that we would get a warning or something prior to something like that happening. But we did not and it was rather shocking.”
Authorities, who had stopped searching, now plan to begin looking again. According to reports, drowning was ruled out, as Fornatora was both an experienced surfer and swimmer.
A $25,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to Fornatora. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call the embassy tipline at 809-368-7713.