Filmmaker Tyler Perry and civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump have announced the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit against a former sheriff’s deputy who they believe may be responsible for the disappearance of two men nearly fifteen years ago.
The last known whereabouts of Felipe Santos and Terrance Williams, who disappeared in 2003 and 2004 respectively, was in North Naples, FL with former Collier County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Calkins, Crump said. Santos was arrested by Calkins and placed in his patrol car after a fender bender.
Williams was pulled over for unknown reasons and taken into custody by Calkins after failing to show his driver’s license and registration. Santos and Williams’ remains were never discovered.
Williams’ estate filed suit last week, accusing Calkins of wrongful death. According to the suit, Calkins was later fired from his job with the Collier County Sheriff’s Department for giving conflicting statements during the missing persons investigations but no charges were ever filed.
Calkins is believed to currently be living in Iowa, the suit said. An attorney working on the case at Crump’s office said he was unaware whether Calkins has retained counsel yet. A message left by CNN at a phone number believed to be associated with Calkins was unreturned.
At a Tuesday morning press conference, Crump said he will subpoena Calkins and wants to bring the case in front of a jury in Collier County. Perry also announced he was offering $200,000 for information leading to the conviction of “the person” who they believe to be the culprit in the disappearances.
Perry previously offered $100,000 for pertinent information. “I don’t know how you can sit and not be upset that these two people, black, white, Mexican, it doesn’t even matter, would be put in the back of a sheriff’s deputy’s car, somebody we are supposed to trust,” Perry said. “They’re put in the back of the car, they disappear, and they haven’t been seen for 14 years. I don’t know anyone who that would not move unless you have a heart of stone.”
Perry also thanked the Collier County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance and participation in the ongoing investigation. Crump said he hopes the civil suit can lead to a renewed collection of evidence that could lead to the filing of criminal charges in this case. In a statement, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said it “continues to be committed” to investigating the disappearances of Williams and Santos.
“We thank our community which has been working this case together with us for years and for providing numerous tips and leads to investigators,” Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “We also thank actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry for continuing to raise public awareness about these local cases and keeping them in the national spotlight.”