Tyler Perry, a movie-maker and actor, who is well known for his role as the Madea character announced on Thursday, that he is offering a reward of $100,000 for information leading to the arrest related to two cases of missing men from Collier County in Florida.
Both men were last seen with a Cpl. Steve Calkins, a police officer with the with the Collier sheriff's department at the time.
Calkins stated that he drove Felipe Santos, of Naples, who has not been seen since Oct. 14, 2003 to a Circle K store and dropped him off, instead of arresting him for driving without a license. Calkins also said he drove Terrance Williams, of Naples, who has been missing since Jan. 12, 2004, to a Circle K store in North Naples, because his Cadillac had broken down. Neither men have been seen again.
“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, according to the Naples Daily News.
Don Hunter, the Collier County sheriff at the time, said Calkins’ patrol car was tested for blood and signs of a struggle, but nothing was found. Even a tracking device was put on Calkins’ car in case he may have dumped their bodies and had gone back to the scene, but nothing turned up, reports the Syracuse news.
Hunter stated that both men had a reason to disappear. Santos was illegally in the country from Mexico and Williams was facing jail time in Tennessee for not paying child support.
Calkins who worked for the police force for 17 years was fired in 2004 when he failed a polygraph test related Williams' disappearance and relaying inconsistent stories. Calkins was named a person of interest by the authorities, but he has never been charged with anything related to their disappearance.
Perry said he saw the William's case on Investigation Discovery and became interested in finding justice for the two men and felt there should be "greater outrage and outcry over the disappearances."
“They were put into the back of Deputy Calkins’ car and never heard from again,” Perry wrote on his personal blog in April. “And to this day Deputy Steve Calkins is a free man. I guess it’s time to march in Naples now.”
Perry showed up at the Naples Library conference room with Rev. Al Sharpton on Thursday, Jan. 10, to bring attention to the cases. NAACP President Ben Jealous and Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk also attended.
Santos’ brother Salvador said: “It has made me feel very good to know of Mr. Perry’s efforts to publicize the case, and that the case is getting new attention.