MISSING PERSONS: TERRANCE WILLIAMS AND FELIPE SANTOS
- Video: Tyler Perry Press Conference
- Video: Rev. Al Sharpton on missing men
- Video: Politics Nation with Al Sharpton: Tyler Perry joins search for missing men
- Photos: Tyler Perry, Al Sharpton spotlight local missing persons cases
- Photos: Investigators search wooded area near Vanderbilt Drive in North Naples
- Turning up the heat: Tyler Perry offers $100K for leads in mysterious disappearances
- Tyler Perry, Rev. Al Sharpton coming to Naples to search for answers on missing men
- Deputies search site after tip on missing men — Williams, Santos
- Former Sheriff: Williams, Santos missing persons cases "perplexing and odd"
- Hollywood star Tyler Perry seeks answers in disappearance of Collier man
- East Naples mom added to Collier sheriff’s missing persons website
- Cold Case Chronicles: Everglades body dump, Miami drug wars drove up Collier murder rate
- Missing answer? Monday marks 5 years since man with Collier deputy disappeared
- Civil rights leaders ‘turn up the heat’ on missing person cases
- Still no answers about men last seen with deputy
- Calkins says he ‘didn’t do anything wrong’
- Veteran deputy fired for failing to follow radio communication policies
NAPLES — A trio of influential black leaders — movie mogul Tyler Perry, the Rev. Al Sharpton and NAACP CEO and President Ben Jealous — will be in Naples on Thursday, bringing attention to two local missing persons cases and the amount of media attention paid to disappearances of minorities.
The three men will hold a 10:30 a.m. press conference at Collier County’s South Regional Library in East Naples, highlighting the unsolved disappearances of Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos. They were last seen nearly a decade ago with the same now-fired Collier County Sheriff’s Office corporal, Steve Calkins.
“Cases such as these highlight a growing concern about the lack of media coverage when it comes to missing person cases involving people of color,” a statement publicizing the event said.
Blacks made up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, yet they accounted for 33 percent of missing persons cases in 2011, according to FBI data.
Perry, whose movie and TV empire is best known for the Madea character, and Sharpton, a longtime civil rights advocate, spoke together in February on MSNBC about the North Naples cases after Perry saw a television show featuring Williams.
“They were put into the back of Deputy Calkins’ car and never heard from again. And to this day Deputy Steve Calkins is a free man,” Perry wrote on his personal blog in April. “I guess it’s time to march in Naples now.”
Collier County sheriff’s spokeswoman Karie Partington said Perry has maintained “a sincere interest” in the cases.
“We’ve been in contact with them working on this, and we’re grateful that they’re shining a spotlight on these two cases because our best hope of solving them comes from new information,” Partington said.
Marcia Williams, Terrance’s mother, said Tuesday she is withholding comment until the press conference.
Santos, then 23, disappeared in October 2003, after he was arrested by Calkins near Immokalee and Airport-Pulling roads for driving without a license. In a memo, Calkins wrote he didn’t take Santos to jail, instead dropping him off at an Immokalee Road Circle K.
Three months later, Williams, then 27, disappeared after an encounter with Calkins. Witnesses and reports said Williams was having car troubles when Calkins spotted him near Naples Memorial Gardens, a North Naples Cemetery. Calkins said at the time he took Williams to a nearby Circle K and never saw him again.
The 17-year veteran was fired from the Sheriff’s Office in August 2004 after giving inconsistent accounts of the Williams encounter during an internal investigation. He’s been deemed a person of interest in the case.
Hollywood star Tyler Perry wants answers about a man who mysteriously disappeared in Collier County eight years ago.
Perry, best known for his Madea movies, appeared with Al Sharpton on MSNBC on Monday to bring attention to Terrance Williams' disappearance. Williams and another man — Felipe Santos — disappeared within months after separate encounters with a Collier County sheriff's deputy. Neither man has been found. The deputy was later fired by the Sheriff's Office but no one has been charged in either case.
"We all should be outraged," Perry said on the MSNBC show PoliticsNation. "This is the kind of stuff that would happen in the '60s and earlier where black people would disappear and just be disregarded and never heard from again. And somebody that knows something about it."
Perry said there are many conflicting stories and he's just trying to help Terrance's mother, Marcia Williams, find some justice.
Perry became interested in Williams' case after seeing a TV show on the Investigation Discovery channel.
"I was just blown away because the last person to see him alive is this deputy, Steven Calkins, from what I understand," said Perry, who says he rarely watches TV because he is so busy. "The story goes on that there was another man, Felipe Santos, who disappeared a few months before Terrance did. The last person to see him alive is the same (deputy)."
He then contacted Marcia Williams to show his support.
"He said, 'I am with you,'" Marcia Williams said.
She referred to Perry and Sharpton as "angels who have been sent by God."
"They might be big stars but they are humans like us and they just want answers," she said.
Marcia Williams said that since the airing of her son's case on the ID channel, the public support has been overwhelming. She said Terrance Williams' Facebook page has been inundated with messages from complete strangers showing their support.
Sharpton said on his MSNBC show that he plans to join Perry and Williams in Naples for a march to bring attention to the case. Marcia Williams said she didn't know of and doesn't have any plans for a march.
Terrance Williams disappeared in January of 2004. He went to a party with co-workers from Pizza Hut. Driving home in his 1983 two-door white Cadillac with an expired plate and not registered to him, Williams, 27, encountered Cpl. Steven Calkins near Naples Memorial Gardens, a North Naples cemetery, according to witnesses and reports.
Calkins said he met Williams at 111th Avenue North where Williams was having car trouble. He said he took Williams to a nearby Circle K and that's the last he saw of him.
Calkins, a 17-year veteran, never called in the traffic stop. He later called a dispatcher asking for information about a "homie Cadillac" found along side the road. The Sheriff's Office fired Calkins in August of 2004 after he gave inconsistent stories about what happened to Williams during an internal probe.
Santos also disappeared after a meeting with the same deputy. In October of 2003, Santos, 23, had a car accident at Immokalee and Airport-Pulling Road. Calkins responded to the scene and originally arrested Santos for not having a driver license. But according to a memo written by Calkins, he didn't take Santos to jail because he was "polite and cooperative." Calkins said instead he dropped Santos off at a Circle K off Immokalee Road.
Collier Sheriff's investigators deem Calkins a person of interest in the disappearance of both men, Sheriff's spokeswoman Michelle Batten said. The Sheriff's Office considers both cases active investigations.
Marcia Williams said she knows Terrance, her only child, is dead. She just wants closure and answers.
"Tell me where my child is and everything will fall into place," Marcia Williams said. "I want justice."