Famed director Tyler Perry is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of two Florida men who went missing 10 years ago after separate encounters with a sheriff’s deputy.
Yahoo News reports that Perry joined the Rev. Al Sharpton and NAACP president and CEO Ben Jealous at a news conference Thursday in Naples, Florida to offer the reward in hopes of learning what happened to Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos.
Santos and Williams disappeared after separate traffic stops by Collier County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Calkins three months apart in 2003. Calkins was never charged with either man’s disappearance but he was fired in 2004.
During the press conference, Perry said the media was not paying enough attention to missing-person cases involving minorities. Williams was black and Santos was an illegal immigrant from Mexico.
After Perry announced the reward, a man stepped forward and spoke with Perry.
“Wow. I have been praying for an answer for this family and I wasn’t expecting this moment,” Perry said after speaking with the man. “I am beyond overwhelmed by it. And just like this man has come forward, I am sure there are others. You do not have to be afraid. The sheriff here has assured me that he will be safe and anyone else that wants to say anything or speak out about this will be safe.”
The missing cases were profiled on ID Channel’s series Disappeared, and other television programs. Perry said he joined the search for the men after he was confronted by civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton.
“Why aren’t you civil rights leaders dealing with cases of missing people?” Sharpton said Perry asked him. “And he began telling me the story of Terrence Williams, saying if we fight for what’s right, how do we forget about people who just disappeared? And I felt guilty, because he’s right. All of us have not done all we should.”
Watch the episode of Disappeared featuring Terrence Williams below.
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