A Florida woman who had become a recognizable voice in the Black Lives Matter movement has been murdered, according to Tallahassee police. Oluwatoyin Salau, known to friends as "Toyin," went missing over a week ago after a series of mysterious posts on social media.
The 19-year-old woman reported via her Twitter account on June 6 that she had been sexually assaulted by a man who had helped her by providing transportation. Salau said in her post that she had been sheltering at a church in Tallahassee and an individual "disguised as a man of God" offered to give her a ride in his truck.
He came disguised as a man of God and ended up picking me up from nearby Saxon Street. I entered his truck only because I carry anything to defend myself not even a phone (which is currently at the church) and I have poor vision. I trusted the holy spirit to keep me safe.— Oluwatoyin (@virgingrltoyin) June 6, 2020
After graphically describing the sexual assault by the man whom she had entrusted, Salau went silent. Questions posted to her Twitter account poured in, with followers attempting to confirm that the activist had reached safety. Inquiries about her well-being and offers of assistance went unanswered until friends of Salau said she had been missing since the time of her last report on her assault.
We are trying to locate toyin. She is missing.— Shani Angela (@NaturalFreeflo) June 10, 2020
Sadly, the search for Salau concluded in tragedy when her body was found along with another woman's on Saturday. Tallahassee police confirmed Salau's identity and announced the other body was that of Victoria Sims, 75. Police said the bodies were found by law enforcement who were following up on a missing persons investigation.
Both deaths are being investigated as homicides, police said, and a suspect, 49-year-old Aaron Glee Jr., is already in custody. Sims was not reported missing until the day before her body was found, though police had been searching for Salau for an entire week. Her disappearance was widely shared on social media and a GoFundMe account had raised nearly $10,000 to assist in the search.
Sims was a longtime volunteer for the American Association of Retired Persons and an active political supporter of Democrats running for office. Her family has not yet commented publicly on her death and it is not known if Sims and Salau were acquainted with one another prior to their deaths.
MUGSHOT: This is 49-year-old Aaron Glee Jr. He was the suspect who Tallahassee police arrested in connection to the killing of a Black Lives Matter activist and an AARP volunteer. MORE: https://t.co/6VHuGt9xtt pic.twitter.com/sg3je1XrAa— WCTV Eyewitness News (@WCTV) June 15, 2020
Though Glee is being held on suspicion of murdering both women, a motive has not been shared by police and whether or not Glee was involved in Salau's claim of sexual assault is not yet known. Police have also appealed to the public for more information about the disappearance and death of Salau and Sims.
RIP to 19 year old activist Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau. ????— 247 Live Culture (@247LC) June 15, 2020
She was found dead after detailing a sexual assault and being heavily active in protests in Florida. #JusticeforToyin pic.twitter.com/gxuEe4Ybwz