Filmmaker Tyler Perry Ups Reward in Search for Men Last Seen in Deputy’s Custody

Five years after offering a cash reward for information about the disappearances of Felipe Santos and Terrance Williams in Florida, filmmaker Tyler Perry has doubled that reward, CBS 12 reports.

Santos and Williams disappeared one year apart in the early 2000s after being detained by Collier County Deputy Steven Calkins. Calkins was never charged, but he was fired for refusing to cooperate with an investigation.

Santos went missing in 2003 and Williams went missing a year later.

Perry is now upping his reward from $100,000 to $200,000 in the hopes that someone with knowledge of what happened to the two men will come forward. According to the Associated Press, Perry, flanked by attorney Benjamin Crump, also announced a lawsuit against Calkins alleging that he was responsible for the deaths of the two men. Calkins has claimed that he dropped the two men off at a convenience store.

Perry said that the reason more hasn’t been done to find out what happened to Santos and Williams is that they “aren’t sympathetic” in the eyes of the public and the media.

“When somebody goes missing and they are blue-eyed blonde woman it’s all over the news,” he said, indicating that the same attention was not given to Santos and Williams because they are Hispanic and African-American men. Santos was also an undocumented immigrant.

“This has got to bother you,” the filmmaker added. “If you are a decent human kind person with a soul I don’t know how you can sit and not be upset that these two people, black, white, or Mexican […] would be put in the back of a sheriff deputy’s car, someone we are supposed to trust […]  and haven’t been seen for 14 years.”

[Image via CBS 12 screengrab]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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