WATCH: Ben Crump and Tyler Perry Give Update on Missing Men of Color Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos

Felipe Santos, left, and Terrance Williams / Collier County Sheriff’s Office

A lawsuit seeking to hold a former Collier County sheriff’s deputy accountable for the 2004 disappearance of a Naples man was denied on appeal Wednesday.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, whose firm is representing Terrance Williams’ family, said his team is pursuing other avenues for justice, including sharing information with the U.S. Department of Justice in hopes the agency will open a federal investigation.

Terrance Williams was 27 when he disappeared on Jan. 12, 2004, after witnesses saw him get into Steven Calkins’ patrol car in North Naples.

Marcia Williams, the mother of Terrance Williams, sued Calkins in a 2018 wrongful death action on behalf of her son’s estate and four children. But the Collier County suit came to an abrupt close in 2021 after Crump’s team missed a deadline to file for trial. Marcia Williams appealed to a Florida appellate court.

Williams was the second man to vanish after an encounter with Calkins. Felipe Santos, a Mexican immigrant and Immokalee resident, disappeared at age 23 in October 2003 after his brothers saw him get into Calkins’ patrol car.

There have been no verified sightings of the men since, according to the Collier sheriff’s office. Both men are presumed dead.

The disappearances have attracted national attention including from activist Al Sharpton and filmmaker Tyler Perry, who has offered a $200,000 reward for meaningful tips.

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SOURCE: Naples Daily News, Janine Zeitlin