Gerald Eugene Stano
Upon his arrival back at police headquarters, Gadberry ran the Gremlin's license plate number through the computer and discovered that the vehicle was registered to Gerald Eugene Stano, a 28-year-old man from Ormond Beach. As the detective looked over the suspect's records, he noticed that the man had a long rap sheet, but had never been convicted of anything. He was also a prime suspect in several other assaults on local prostitutes. Gadberry printed out a copy of the suspect's mug shot and took it to the victim. Upon viewing the photo, she positively identified the suspect as the man who had assaulted her and signed an affidavit charging him with aggravated assault and battery.
According to Flowers and Ecker, Gadberry took his findings to Crow and the detective took an immediate interest in the case. He had been busy working on a psychological profile of Mary Carol's killer and Stano appeared to fit: male, white, late 30s or early 40s, lives in the Daytona Beach area, drives an ordinary car; picks up hitchhikers and prostitutes, has a hot temper, hates women, cannot deal with rejection, has killed before and will kill again.
On April 1, 1980, Gadberry and Crow brought Stano in for questioning. Before the interrogation began, Crow fed Gadberry certain questions to which he already knew the answers. He wanted to see how Stano reacted when telling the truth – and when lying. Crow soon discovered that whenever Stano was telling the truth he would lean forward in his chair and when he was lying he would lean back.
After an hour of relentless questioning, Stano finally confessed to the assault on the prostitute. Then Crow took over. Sitting directly across from Stano, he said: "Gerald, I'm Detective Sergeant Paul Crow. I've got a problem that I think you might be able to help me with"..."I've got a missing girl who disappeared"..."I just wondered if you had seen her." Crow then produced a photo of Mary Carol Maher and placed it on the table. Stano studied the photo for a few minutes. "Yeah, I've seen her before," he said. He then went on to describe seeing her at a local hotel the previous month. When Crow asked him if he approached the girl, Stano leaned back and said he gave her a ride to Atlantic Avenue and had not seen her since then.