NAPLES, FL — On January 11, 2004, 27-year-old Terrance Williams headed out to a party — and never came home.
The story of Williams’ disappearance — and his mother’s shocking discoveries as the family investigates and attempts to retrace his last steps — are documented in a new episode of Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall on Investigation Discovery.
Williams’ roommate Jason Gonzalez said that Williams attended a party that evening at a coworker’s house.
Due to a DUI, Williams did not have a valid driver’s license, but Gonzalez said that Williams decided to drive his Cadillac anyway because he could not find another ride.This decision, as it turned out, would lead to devastating consequences for the father of four.
Williams had so much fun at the party that friends say that he hung out there until dawn, and finally left at around 6 A.M.
At first, Gonzalez assumed that Williams could have spent the night somewhere else. But when his roommate had not come home by January 13, Gonzalez emailed Williams’ mother Marcia.
Concerned, Marcia drove to her son’s workplace — and found out that he had not shown up, and even failed to pick up a paycheck.
The Williams family filed a missing-persons report with the Collier County Sheriff’s Department — and then began doing an investigation of their own.
On January 16, Williams’ aunt discovered that his car had been towed from the Naples Memorial Gardens Cemetery. According to the tow record, the tow was requested because Williams’ Cadillac was obstructing traffic. Marcia got affidavits from the cemetery employees describing what they had witnessed.
They stated that they saw Williams with sheriff’s deputy Steve Calkins, who patted Williams down and put him in the back of the cruiser before driving off.
He also allegedly asked employees if they minded him leaving the Cadillac in the lot, and then came back to the cemetery between 15 minutes and an hour later and moved the Cadillac to the side of the road.The tow report was signed by Calkins — but when the family contacted the police with this information, they discovered that Calkins had not filed an incident report connected to the car.
In fact, when Calkins was contacted by a police dispatcher he claimed that he had not arrested anyone, and had no idea who Williams was.
A few days later, Calkins’ supervisors asked him to submit an incident report. The report stated that he came in contact with a young black man, but the encounter was so brief that he only knew his first name: Terrance.
The report stated that the car Williams was driving was “in distress,” at which time he followed him to the cemetery parking lot.
He claimed that Williams asked for a ride to a nearby Circle K because he was late for work and stated that after he dropped him off at the Circle K, Williams told him the registration for the car was in the vehicle’s glove compartment.
Calkins claimed that he returned to the Cadillac and, when he failed to find the paperwork, believed that he may have been duped. He went on to claim that he called the Circle K and asked to speak to Williams. The clerk then allegedly told him over the phone that Williams did not work there.
When she heard Calkins’ version of the story, Marcia said that she became convinced that the deputy had done something “really bad.”
Additionally, further investigation revealed that there was no sign of Williams or Calkins on surveillance footage from the Circle K — and suspiciously, phone records from Calkins’ cell phone showed no call to the Circle K.
On January 28, Marcia and her husband filed a complaint of miscounduct against Steve Calkins and the police department. “There were several reasons to take Terrance to jail: No driver’s license, no license plate — he’s not telling the truth,” Marcia said.
Investigators called in Calkins to take a polygraph test — which he reportedly passed. By this time, Marcia had taken her frustrations with the investigation to the press.
A new lead in the case surfaced when a diplomat at the Mexican Consulate in Miami called Marcia to tell her about another man, a Mexican national named Felipe Santos, who had vanished three months prior to Williams in what appeared to be similar circumstances.
Santos, 24, was living in the country illegally with his common-law wife and young daughter and had been sending money back to his family in Mexico. He was last seen on October 1, 2003, at approximately 6:30 A.M. when he was involved in a minor traffic accident in Naples, Florida.
The deputy dispatched to the accident scene was Steve Calkins. After citing Santos for driving without a license and other violations, Santos was last seen riding in Calkins’ patrol car.
Once again, when questioned, Calkins claimed he dropped Santos off at a Circle K, approximately four miles from the location where he claimed he’d dropped off Williams. But Santos was never arrested, and he has not been heard from since.
Because the main person of interest in the case was a police officer, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI were called in to investigate Calkins. Internal affairs re-interviewed the deputy, and discovered several inconsistencies in his story.
In the recording of Calkins’ call to request the tow of Williams’ car Calkins described the car as abandoned and blocking the road, which contradicted his written statement. Calkins was also heard joking with the operator, reportedly describing the car as a “homie Cadillac.”
Calkins defended his misstatements to the operator, telling investigators that he was just “joking around” with a friend. Calkins also requested a background check on “Terrance Williams,” giving an inaccurate birth date—a specific date that Williams had used before and given the police when he was arrested. This contradicted Calkins’ earlier statement that he never knew Williams’ last name or any other personal details.
On April 16, 2004, Calkins was called in to take another polygraph test. This time, he failed — and coworkers said he did not take the news well and continued to insist that he had been set up.
Investigators went through Calkins’ car and put a GPS monitor on his car, but failed to get enough evidence to get probable cause to search his home. Eventually, Calkins was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Police also used tracking dogs to scour the wetlands, but never found Williams’ body.
Calkins was fired by the department, and eventually opened a lawn-care business and relocated to Iowa. He did not respond to ID’s requests for comment.
Main photo: Terrance Williams (left) and Felipe Santos (right) [CUE Center For Missing Persons]