By: Sarah Snyder
The story about the imposter Permian High basketball player is now making national headlines, but who is the man behind the scheme? NewsWest 9 is learning more about Guerdwich Montimere from the people who knew him best.
Guerdwich Montimere spent most of his time practicing at Permian High School with his teammates, but it was his group of friends at Permian who helped him find the place he spent every Sunday. NewsWest 9 sat down with his pastor who gave us a better idea of who this young man is.
"The Jerry I know is a great guy and I never had any reason to doubt it," Pastor Philip Skelton, with Mission Dorado Baptist Church, said.
After several teens in the youth group invited him to church, Pastor Philip Skelton at Mission Dorado Baptist in Odessa said "Jerry Joseph" became a part of their church family.
"He was great," Pastor Skelton said. "Everyone loved him here: the young, the older, everybody. He got excited talking about God and how things have changed."
His pastor told NewsWest 9, he was there just about every time the doors were open: Bible studies, prayer groups, worship services and even being baptized.
"The only question I ever had was he was a big kid for 16!" Pastor Skelton said.
A big kid with a passion for basketball, his uncle who lives in Florida said he even dreamt of going pro.
"He loves basketball and that was his passion to play basketball and he was dreaming about being in the NBA," Wilner Montimere, his Uncle said. "You know what I'm saying, so I don't know for what reason for that he doing it. He is the only one who could answer that."
When Pastor Skelton heard his 16-year-old friend was actually a 22-year-old from Ft. Lauderdale, he was shocked.
"It's disappointing," Pastor Skelton said. "I'm not upset, it's more disappointing. I feel sorry for him. I think he's a kid who needed some help and some love and he found it here."
NewsWest 9 spoke with the Permian basketball coach who welcomed "Jerry" into his home. After the news broke on Tuesday, he told said this ordeal has been difficult on his family.
"You know, you bring someone into your home even away from basketball, my wife and my kids just fell in love with the young man and to be betrayed like that, you hate to be even a part of that happening to your family," Permian Basketball Coach, Danny Wright, said.
But even after sifting through a web of lies, the people who knew him said, his countenance was sincere.
"I think most people don't know the sincere side of him that I do believe was seeking after God and found him here," Pastor Skelton said. "He's never been malicious, he's never stolen anything or asked for money. Everything people may be saying about him, maybe imposter, is not the Jerry we knew."
He said if Montimere were to ever come back, they would welcome him with open arms.
"I'm really proud of our church," Pastor Skelton said. "Our church took him in and embraced him and loved on him and I don't have any regrets about that. Hopefully we would do that every time."
Pastor Skelton told NewsWest 9, no one at the church has heard from Montimere. He is free after posting $500 bond, but again no one NewsWest 9 spoke with seems to know where he is.