Disappearance of Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Missing persons flier of Felipe Santos and Terrance Williams

Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos went missing in 2004 and 2003, respectively, under similar circumstances in Naples, Florida. Both men were last seen being arrested by former Collier County Sheriff's deputy Corporal Steve Calkins for driving without a license. He claims he changed his mind about both arrests and last saw the men after he dropped them at Circle K convenience stores. Actor Tyler Perry offered a $100,000 reward for any information leading to the location of the men or leading to an arrest in the case. Al Sharpton, of the National Action Network, and Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, also joined Perry in raising awareness of the cause.[1] The disappearances were covered by multiple television shows, such as the Investigation Discovery series Disappeared.[2]

Disappearance of Terrance Williams[edit]

Terrance Williams
Born (1976-01-17)January 17, 1976
Tennessee, U.S.
Disappeared January 12, 2004 (aged 27)
Naples, Florida, U.S.
Status Endangered Missing
Residence Naples, Florida
Nationality American
Known for Missing person
Home town Chattanooga, Tennessee
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight 160 lb (73 kg)

On January 12, 2004, 27-year-old Terrance Williams went missing in Naples, Florida. Williams grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee and had recently moved to Florida to be near his mother. He had four children.[3] Williams' roommate, Jason Gonzalez, says he spoke to Terrance on the phone on the evening of Sunday, January 11, before heading to bed. Williams had attended a party that evening at a coworker's house. He did not then have a valid driver's license after being cited for driving under the influence, and the registration on his car was expired. He decided to drive to the party illegally after being unable to find another ride. Gonzalez became concerned when his roommate did not return home and emailed Williams' mother on January 13 about his concerns.[2]

Initial investigation[edit]

The Williams family called police and filed a missing person report. Shortly afterward, Williams' aunt was able to track down Williams' vehicle; it had been towed from Naples Memorial Cemetery. The tow record shows that a tow was requested because Williams' Cadillac was obstructing traffic. The tow report was signed by a sheriff's deputy named Steve Calkins. The family contacted the police station and discovered that Calkins had filed neither an incident report nor an arrest.[2]

Marcia Williams, Terrance's mother, contacted workers at the cemetery, who told her that they witnessed Calkins pull Williams over and ask him for identification, which he did not have. Employees stated that Calkins patted Williams down and put him in the back of the patrol car. Before driving off with Williams, Calkins then asked the cemetery employees if he could leave the Cadillac in the lot. Calkins was witnessed returning to the cemetery between 15 minutes and an hour later and moving the Cadillac from a parking spot to the side of the road. The car keys were found on the ground beside the car.[2]

Following the witness statement by the cemetery employees, the Williams family repeatedly called the police station asking to speak to deputy Calkins. He was contacted by dispatch and asked about the incident. Calkins claimed to have no memory of having any cars towed on that day and claimed he did not arrest anyone on that day, either. He was contacted later and claimed to have a somewhat better recollection of his contact with Williams.[2][4]

A few days later, Calkins' supervisors asked him to submit an incident report. Calkins' report states that he first came in contact with Williams at 12:15pm after noticing that the car Williams was driving was "in distress".[5] Calkins claimed he followed Williams to the cemetery parking lot and that Williams asked for a ride to a nearby Circle K because he was late for work. (Williams did not work at the Circle K.) According to Calkins, after dropping him off at the Circle K, Williams told him the paperwork for the car was in the vehicle's glove compartment. Calkins claimed that he returned to the Cadillac and discovered that the proper registration was not in the car and that he felt deceived, so he called Circle K from his work issued cell phone and asked to speak to Williams. The clerk allegedly told him over the phone that Williams did not work there. According to the report, Calkins then called in the license plate number and found that the plates were expired. However, further investigation revealed that phone and surveillance records did not back up Calkins' story: there was no sign of Williams or Calkins on surveillance footage from the Circle K, and the phone records from Calkins' cell phone showed no call to the Circle K.[6] Circle K employees were interviewed, and no witnesses could be found to place Calkins or Williams there. At this point, Marcia Williams filed a complaint against Steve Calkins.[2]

A new lead in the case surfaced when the Mexican Consulate in Miami contacted Marcia Williams to tell her about another man who had vanished in a similar fashion. Mexican immigrant Felipe Santos had gone missing three months prior, after deputy Calkins claimed he dropped him off at another Circle K, approximately 4 miles from the location where he claimed he dropped off Williams.[7]

Disappearance of Felipe Santos[edit]

Felipe Santos
Born (1979-01-01)January 1, 1979
Oaxaca, Mexico
Disappeared October 1, 2003 (aged 24)
Naples, Florida, U.S.
Status Endangered Missing
Residence Immokalee, Florida
Nationality Mexican
Known for Missing person
Height 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight 150 lb (68 kg)
Spouse(s) Apolonia Cruz-Cortez

Felipe Santos, 24, was a Mexican national living illegally in the United States in nearby Immokalee, Florida. He had been living in the United States for three years at the time of his disappearance, and sending money back to his family in Mexico. He was last seen October 1, 2003, at approximately 6:30am. Santos was driving to work with his two brothers when he was involved in a minor motor vehicle accident in Naples. Collier County sheriff's deputy Steve Calkins cited Santos for reckless driving and driving without a license or insurance, and placed him in his patrol car. Santos was last seen riding away with Calkins.[2]

Later that day, Santos' boss contacted the county jail to post bail, and it was discovered that Santos was never booked. Calkins claimed that he changed his mind about the arrest because Santos was "polite and cooperative", left him at a local Circle K, and drove off.[8] The other driver in the accident contradicted that report, stating that Calkins was agitated about Santos' lack of documentation. "He just stated that he was tired of pulling people over that didn't have licenses," she said.[2]

Two weeks later, after Calkins submitted his incident report, Santos' family filed a missing persons report as well as a complaint against Calkins. An investigation cleared Calkins of any wrongdoing. Santos has not been heard from since.[9] Santos' wife, Apolonia Cruz-Cortez, has questioned the quality of the investigation into her husband's disappearance, citing the fact that she has not been interviewed by investigators.[5]

Further investigation[edit]

Further suspicion was cast on Calkins when the recording of his call to dispatch requesting the tow of Williams' car revealed further conflicting statements. In this recording, Calkins described the car as abandoned and blocking the road. This statement contradicted both his incident report and the witness statements, both of which reported that Calkins himself moved the vehicle to its location blocking the road. Calkins joked with the operator: "Maybe he's out there in the cemetery. He'll come back and his car will be gone." He was also heard using inappropriate language during the call, describing the car as a "homie Cadillac". Calkins defended his misstatements to the operator, telling investigators that he was just "joking around" with a friend. He insists he moved the car to assist the towing company, as opposed to attempting to make it look abandoned.[10][11]

Approximately 20 minutes later, at 1:12 pm, Calkins requested a background check on "Terrance Williams", giving an inaccurate birth date—a specific date that Williams had previously given the police when he was arrested. This contradicts Calkins' earlier statement that he never knew Williams' last name or any other personal details.[3]

Because the main person of interest in the case was a police officer, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI were called in to work on the case.[12] Various other investigative techniques were used, including the covert placement of a GPS device on Calkins' vehicle and a forensic investigation of the patrol car. Cadaver dogs were used to survey the areas identified by the GPS, but these turned up no further evidence.[1][13]

Increased publicity[edit]

The case went without any leads for a number of years until 2012, when a number of national programs began covering the case, including Disappeared, Anderson Cooper 360, and Dateline. In 2017, the Investigation Discovery series "Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall", episode "Gulf Coast Vanishings" investigated the stories of Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos.[14][15] Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry went on Al Sharpton's MSNBC talk show to discuss the disappearances, offering a $100,000 reward for information in connection with the cases.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Zeitlin, Janine (January 11, 2013). "Filmmaker gives $100K to thaw Florida cold cases". USA Today. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Investigation Discovery Network. "Episode: Crime and Punishment". Disappeared tv series. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Krueger, Curtis (May 29, 2005). "Without a trace, but strangely similar". St. Petersburg Times. 
  4. ^ Fleischman, Gaby (April 25, 2012). "Search teams hunt for men missing in cold case". ABC 7. 
  5. ^ a b Husty III, Denes (July 25, 2004). "Two vanish, spur searches". News-press.com. Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ "CNN News". CNN. January 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ Mays, Jeff (July 3, 2012). "Tyler Perry Brings Attention To Case Of Missing Florida Man". News One. 
  8. ^ "Tyler Perry, Rev. Al Sharpton coming to Naples to search for answers on missing men". Marco News. January 8, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Felipe Santos". The Charley Project: Felipe Santos. Charley Project. 
  10. ^ Hanson, Tom (March 1, 2012). "Hollywood star Tyler Perry seeks answers in disappearance of Collier man". Naplesnews.com. 
  11. ^ "Cold case tip leads investigators to N. Naples field". Wink News. Apr 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Missing - Terrance Williams & Felipe Santos". Collier County sheriff's office. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  13. ^ Associated Press (10 January 2013). "Tyler Perry offers $100,000 reward as he joins Al Sharpton in push to solve mystery of two men who disappeared a decade ago after encounter with SAME sheriff's deputy". Daily Mail UK. 
  14. ^ "Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall | Watch Full Episodes & More! - Investigation Discovery". www.investigationdiscovery.com. Discovery Communications, LLC. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  15. ^ Mangrum, Meghan (31 August 2017). "Investigation Discovery show to feature disappearances of two Collier men". Naples Daily News. Retrieved 19 September 2017.