Looking forlorn from lack of sleep and worry, the family of Peretz Sontag made a tearful appeal for him to come home as they upped a reward offer to $30,000 on Wednesday for information that leads to finding the 50-year-old father.
Many of the Pomona man’s family members, friends and searchers gathered at an office building off Airmont Road to publicize his disappearance and offer the increased reward.
Peretz’s wife, Tammy Sontag, one of the couple’s seven children, Rebecca, and his sister, Susan Golomb, stood huddled around a microphone pleading for Peretz to come home.
“Peretz, if you can hear me, I love you so much, the children love you,” his wife of 30 years said. “Don’t worry. Please come home.”
The 27-year-old daughter said tearfully, “Daddy, please come home. We need you, we love you.”
Peretz Sontag ran off because of depression brought on by a failing business after an employee ripped him off, a friend and neighbor Chesky Ostreicher said Wednesday. His business involved installing intercom security systems.
Ostreicher said he spoke to Peretz Sontag on Friday, adding he sounded depressed and as if life was too much for him. Ostreicher said the family had been living in Israel, but financial issues forced them to move back to Pomona.
Peretz Sontag is known in the Orthodox community for his kind heart and years of active service for charitable causes. His uncle Shimon has been influential in Ramapo’s Orthodox Jewish community, once leading a village formation movement.
“He’s a good friend and he loves his family,” Ostreicher said. “I am extremely concerned.”
Since Peretz Sontag’s disappearance Friday, community organizations from Rockland and Orange counties and Brooklyn have been searching for him, working with the Ramapo police and other agencies.
The Ramapo watchdog group Chaverim has been among the teams searching on the ground, along with the Brooklyn-based Shomrim safety patrol, with other supporters searching the area by air in private planes.
The last tangible lead on Sontag’s location came Friday afternoon when authorities pinged his cellphone, getting a signal from a cell tower in the Stony Point area, which includes Harriman State Park.
Ramapo Detective Lt. Mark Emma said the general feeling is Peretz Sontag had been driving north on the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Teams searched Harriman State Park but have not found Sontag or his car — a black 2012 Kia Optima with New York state license plate FZD-8413.
Emma said police had not found evidence that Sontag used a debit card or his cellphone, which could be out of power or thrown away. Before disappearing, Sontag had been depressed and made reference to harming himself, Emma said.
Anyone with information about Sontag’s whereabouts is asked to contact Ramapo police at 845-357-2400 or Chaverim at 845-371-6333.