Deputy Drove Away With a Man Who Then Disappeared. Twice

CNN explores the still-unsolved cases out of rural Florida
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2023 7:15 AM CDT
Deputy Drove Away With a Man Who Was Never Seen Again. Twice
   (Getty / wellphoto)

On October 14, 2003, Felipe Santos got into the back seat of a patrol car driven by Collier County deputy Steven Calkins in rural Florida and was never seen again. Calkins told investigators he encountered the 23-year-old Santos at a traffic accident and later dropped him off at a Circle K convenience store. A few months later, on January 12, 2004, Terrance Williams got into the back of Collier's patrol car after Collier pulled him over—and he, too, was never seen again. As with Santos, Calkins says he dropped Williams, 27, off at the Circle K store. Nearly two decades later, the men remain missing. CNN dives into both cases in a thoroughly reported investigation, which includes precise timelines of the traffic stops, a review of phone records and dispatch logs, and interviews with the men's families and former colleagues of Calkins.

“It is my belief that they were killed because of their color,” says Doug Molloy, an assistant US attorney in 2004 who investigated the disappearances as potential hate crimes. Santos was Latino, Williams was Black, and Calkins is white. The deputy was fired seven months after the second disappearance but never charged in either case. Now 68, he is believed to be living in Iowa and declined to comment to CNN's Thomas Lake through his attorney. "I think he’s guilty—guilty as sin," says Kathy Maurchie, a former dispatcher with the sheriff's office. The story includes the transcript of a call between her and Calkins a few days after Williams' disappearance in which she tries to understand what happened as Calkins maintains he can't remember details of the traffic stop. Read the full story. (Or check out other longform stories.)

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