Tyler Perry Offers $200k Reward In Missing Persons Cases

9/4/2018 10:24 AM PDT

Tyler Perry Offers $200k Reward for Lead in 2 Missing Persons Cases

Tyler Perry's upping the reward for any info that leads to solving a mysterious case of 2 missing men in Florida ... in which a former cop is the main person of interest.

The famed actor and filmmaker just made the announcement in Naples, FL ... he's offering $200k for any help in the cases of the missing Collier County men -- Felipe Santos and Terrance Williams.

The story of the 2 men is a strange one -- Santos went missing in October 2003 and Williams in January 2004, but there's a connection between them ... the last person to see them both alive was Steven Calkins, a corporal with the Collier County Sheriff's office at the time.

Perry has been involved in trying to solve the mysterious disappearance for years, and had already offered a $100k reward before doubling it Tuesday. He's also close to Williams' mother, who was at the presser as well ... along with civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump.

Crump announced on top of the reward money, Williams' family is filing a wrongful death suit against Calkins in hopes of getting testimony out of him.

The former cop was seen pulling over Williams in 2004 near a cemetery, but originally told another cop Williams' car was abandoned. He even denied having any contact with Williams, but later his story changed and he said he dropped him off at a Circle K.

The story of Santos' disappearance is eerily similar to the Williams case. Calkins was dispatched to the scene of a minor car accident involving Santos, allegedly arrested him for driving without a license ... but Santos was never booked at the local jails. Calkins told investigators he dropped him off at a Circle K as well.

Calkins was never charged in either case, which has been cold for nearly 15 years now. He was fired for lying, though ... and the Sheriff's Office says he is a person of interest.