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Judge denies motion to dismiss lawsuit against former Collier County deputy

A wrongful death lawsuit against a former Collier County deputy returned to court Tuesday.

Detectives believe Steven Calkins is the last person to have seen Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos alive before they each disappeared 16 years ago.

Calkins’ attorney, John Hooley, said during a civil court proceeding that enough is enough.

“The evidence and the pleadings state that Mr. Calkins killed Mr. – if he killed him at all – would have killed Mr. Williams no later than February of 2004. Nothing really has changed from February of 2004 to the filing of this complaint.”

Williams’ family said they’re missing important evidence – Calkins himself. They’re suing Calkins for wrongful death.

“When he presents, he will be asked certain questions and he himself, his testimony, will become evidence in this case,” said Devon Jacobs, the Williams’ attorney.

COVID-19 has made that difficult. Jacobs said a virtual interview is not sufficient.

“We believe that body language is very important and sitting in a room with someone is very important,” Jacobs said.

The attorneys will fly to Iowa, where Calkins now lives, to do an in-person deposition.

The judge on Tuesday denied the defense’s motion for the case to be dropped. He did say he’ll study a second defense motion to dismiss.

The Calkins team argued the Williams family failed to file the wrongful death lawsuit two years after Williams disappeared as required by law.

The Williams family countered, saying they couldn’t file the lawsuit until after the state issued a death certificate. That didn’t happen until 2009.

The trial is set for November.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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