The Last Ride is a true crime podcast about two young men of color who went missing in Naples, Florida nearly two decades ago after they were last seen with the same white sheriff’s deputy.
Felipe Santos and Terrance Williams vanished three months apart, on the same road in the early 2000s. Their disappearances haunt their families, police and journalists. In both cases, the now-fired deputy Steven Calkins said he gave Santos and Williams rides to Circle K store gas stations, stories that could never be corroborated.
The eight-episode podcast delves into this mystery that reveals painful truths about police accountability and media coverage of missing people.
Episodes include new details about the cases, dramatic polygraph audio with the deputy and exclusive interviews with lead investigators, media mogul Tyler Perry, famous civil rights attorney Ben Crump, the parents of Terrance Williams and advocates for Felipe Santos.
The host, Janine Zeitlin, first covered the story as a new reporter. The award-winning Florida journalist appears to be the last reporter to speak to the deputy. She is from the same rural Illinois hometown as Calkins and traveled back to their hometown and Tennessee, where Terrance Williams was from, in search of answers.
The Last Ride was reported by Zeitlin and other investigative reporters with the Naples Daily News and The Fort Myers News-Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, distributed by the NPR Network and produced in partnership with WGCU Public Media.
Listen wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and NPROne.
No one’s been arrested or charged for whatever happened Felipe Santos and Terrance Williams. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and filmmaker Tyler Perry join the legal fight for accountability.
Could something finally come to light to solve this tragic mystery?
Felipe Santos, a 23-year-old immigrant from Mexico, disappeared after a minor traffic crash in Naples in the fall of 2003. He was seen in the back of the patrol car of Steven Calkins, the Collier County deputy on the scene.
Felipe was never seen again.
Terrance Williams was 27 when he disappeared in January 2004.
He was pulled over by Deputy Steven Calkins near a Naples cemetery.
His mother and stepfather began their own investigation and unlocked key details when the sheriff’s office was not initially responsive in trying to find Terrance.
Deputy Steven Calkins takes three polygraph tests about the disappearance of Terrance Williams. Inconsistencies between his dispatch calls, his own statements and the polygraphs only bring up more questions. Why didn’t Calkins report pulling Terrance over? Was the Cadillac really broken down? What time did this all happen? And, with each polygraph, it’s clear that suspicions about Calkins are heating up.
Who is Steven Calkins?
Friends from his past shed light on his life in Ottawa, Illinois before moving to Naples, Florida to become a deputy. What was he like as a cop? Were there any clues that Calkins was the kind of guy who would do something to these men?
What was the probability that Calkins meeting both Felipe and Terrance before they vanished was a pure coincidence?
National and local attention can make a big difference when people go missing. But did the media failed these two missing men of color locally, regionally, and nationally?
Why didn’t these cases get the same attention early on as cases involving young white women and are there lessons to be learned?
Actor Tyler Perry has helped bring a spotlight to the disappearances of Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos and has become an advocate for the families. He’s offered a $200,000 reward for tips that help solve the case.
The sheriff’s office publicly deflects attention from deputy Steven Calkins, but behind the scenes, they are investigating one of their own.
The investigation grows as several agencies join the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
What did they do to search for evidence in the disappearances of Felipe Santos and Terrance Williams? What clues did they follow? Was the investigation thorough? Impartial? Was it too late?
The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Williams’ family comes to an end, but not until after a tense deposition of Calkins.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, media mogul Tyler Perry, and the missing men’s families and advocates still harbor hope for justice.
Anyone with information about the missing persons cases is asked to call the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 239-252-9300. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 800-780-8477.
Contact The Last Ride team at [email protected].
See public records associated with the investigations.
Sept. 4, 2018: Tyler Perry gives update on case of missing men