19- year-old Nigerian and Black lives matter protester, Oluwatoyin Salau during her last days, told her fellow black youth to persevere in their fight for justice.
In the centre of a crowd of spirited protesters in front of the Police Department, she recited the names of Black lives taken.
“I don’t want their names gone in vain,” the 19-year-old activist told them. Those lives may be lost, but we cannot be scared. You are angry and it’s OK to be angry.”
Days later, Salau’s name would join that list of Black lives lost. She was killed.
Salau had been missing for nine days. Investigators found her body and that of Victoria “Vicki” Sims on Saturday night off Monday Road in southeast Tallahassee. Sims, 75, a retired state worker and grandmother, had been reported missing by police that day.
Victoria Sims, 75, a volunteer for AARP, was reported missing Saturday night. On Sunday, AARP officials confirmed she was dead, the victim of a homicide.
Aaron Glee Jr., who resided in a dilapidated house on Monday Road, was taken into custody in connection with the murders, police said. Glee, 49, had recent battery charges on his record.
Numerous questions still surround both deaths, including why and how they were killed. Police also have not said exactly when and where they were murdered.
Not much is known about Glee. Neighbors said they barely knew him. One man suggested he didn’t seem to have a car because he walked up and down the street often.
Glee was arrested May 29 on a charge of aggravated battery after an officer stopped at a light at Blair Stone Road and Kay Avenue spotted him kicking a woman in the stomach, according to police reports.
Court records show a misdemeanor battery charge filed against him June 6. However, those reports were not immediately available. Glee was arrested last year on a charge of possession of marijuana. However, prosecutors dropped it, according to court records.
In the hours before authorities said Salau went missing, she tweeted she had just been sexually assaulted. Now, friends say she also was a victim of sex trafficking at a residence near the campus of Florida A&M University. Police have not confirmed that.
Salau said she called police after the assault happened. Several people replied to her on Twitter offering help and asking whether she was OK. She never responded or tweeted again.
But that wasn’t the only time she was sexually abused, her close friends say. Salau also was assaulted a few days before she went missing, said Danaya Hemphill and two other friends.
They met up with her at the church where she’d been seeking refuge, Wesley Impact Church on South Monroe Street.
Hemphill recorded the entire visit to the home and shared the three-minute video with the Tallahassee Democrat. It shows a disoriented and sobbing Salau shuffling into the house with her friends and scooping up her belongings.
However, the case manager for Glee has claimed that the suspect needed mental health help.
Tallahassee murder suspect Aaron Glee spent decades in and out of Florida prison.
Suspect got out of jail before Salau/Sims murders after ‘incomplete’ risk review.
Petitions calling for justice in Oluwatoyin Salau’s death have 450,000 signatures and counting.
Meanwhile, dozens of people gathered to mourn Oluwatoyin Salau at a vigil.
In front of the place their close friend was killed, Chynna Carney and Danaya Hemphill wailed and screamed for answers. They want to know what happened to the 19-year-old.
Along with the body of 75-year-old Victoria Sims, Salau’s body was found on southeast Tallahassee’s Monday Road Saturday night. She’d been missing for nine days.
The women’s cries echoed, piercing sharp against the silence of a crowd of several dozen who gathered to mourn Salau at a vigil on Monday Road, right by arrested murder suspect Aaron Glee Jr.’s house.
Night fell, and mourners lit tealight candles along the length of the road. They began the vigil saying the meaning of Oluwatoyin’s name: “God is worthy to be pleased.” They bowed their heads, reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
The day she went missing, Salau had tweeted she was sexually assaulted. Carney, Hemphill and others close to her say Salau was a long-time victim of sexual abuse. The women supported and confided in each other about similar experiences.
Carney ached for the abuse she said her friend endured, her horrific death only adding to the weight of her sorrow.
Danaya Hemphill grieves the loss of her friend Oluwatoyin Salau during a vigil held for the 19-year-old on Monday Road where her body was found over the weekend Monday, June 15, 2020.
People carried white roses and sunflowers, and one by one they lay them beside portraits of Salau that glowed by the dim votive candles lit in her memory.