In early 2016, Darryl Fornatora, a 46-year-old Palm Beach resident, vanished without a trace while on a surf trip in the Dominican Republic. For three months, officials searched for any clue into his mysterious disappearance, but everything seemed to come to a dead end.
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.”
Then, three months after he disappeared, 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.
A $25,000 reward was offered for any information. Although initially, Rigby stated he would tell authorities what he knew, according to WPTV, when they traveled to Palm Beach to question him, he clammed up, canceled the interview via text, and hired an attorney.
“It leaves big question marks,” said Mrs. Fornatora, “about why he would tell us in early March that he was willing to talk to investigators and tell them anything that he knew… and now when they’re here, all of a sudden he doesn’t. It just leaves a big question in my mind.”
Now, Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen has trained their cameras on the story. “I don’t believe that he drowned because of the circumstances and the stories that I heard doesn’t add up to drowning,” Richard Pimentel, a private investigator hired by the family, told Crime Watch Daily. “I was lied to by so many people that…my conclusion was that something bad happened to Darryl and they are covering it up.”