Filmmaker Tyler Perry is offering a $100,000 reward for information about the cases of two men of color in Naples, Fl. who disappeared after last being seen with a sheriff’s deputy.
Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos both vanished almost a decade ago after each had separate encounters with Cpl. Steven Calkins of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is injustice,” said Perry, who held hands with Williams’ mother throughout the news conference that was also attended by the Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP.
“I don’t think this is about race or social status as much as it is about, no matter who we are, we should be outraged that this is happening in America in 2013,” he added.
Perry has tried to use his star power to bring national media attention to the cases for a few years now.
Williams was last seen in the vicinity of 111th Ave. and Vanderbilt Dr. in Naples, Fla. He was possibly sighted later that day at a convenience store in the vicinity of Wiggins Pass and US 41. His vehicle, a white Cadillac, was found on Vanderbilt Beach Rd. in Naples, Fla., on January 12, 2004. Williams was last seen with Calkins, a nearly 17-year Collier Sheriff’s Office veteran.
According to a report in the Naples Daily News, the officer was “fired from the Sheriff’s Office in August 2004. Eight pages in the Sheriff’s Office internal probe outline Calkins’ “lies and inconsistencies about what happened.”
The officer was the same man last spotted with Felipe Santos, a 23-year-old Mexican laborer, who disappeared just three months before. Williams’ mother was notified by the Mexican Consulate about the similarity in Santos’ case and that of her son’s. The officer says he dropped both men off in locations that were about four miles apart.
Asked to explain the two cases, Calkins told the Naples Daily News, “Coincidence extreme and that’s all it is. It was just bad luck. It was bad luck … I didn’t think anything of it.”
Calkins has not been charged with any crimes in relation to the two missing persons cases.
That hasn’t stopped Perry from pursuing justice in the case.