Death of Oluwatoyin Salau: What We Know So Far

Illustration for article titled Death of Oluwatoyin Salau: What We Know So Far
Photo: David Ryder (Getty Images)

Citizens are demanding answers surrounding the death of 19-year-old Oluwatoyin Salau, a Black Lives Matter activist from Tallahassee, Fla., who went missing on June 6, the same day she tweeted that she was sexually assaulted. The Tallahassee Democrat reports that her body was found on Saturday, and her family confirmed the tragic news on Monday morning.

Advertisement

According to a press release, Tallahassee Police officials have confirmed that the bodies of two female homicide victims were found just off of Monday Road in southeast Tallahassee on Saturday night around 9:15 p.m, Salau and 75-year-old former state worker and local politician Victoria “Vicki” Sims. A suspect, 49-year-old Aaron Glee Jr., was arrested and is currently in custody. The Florida AARP wrote that Ms. Sims “worked tirelessly to improve the lives of others” on their Facebook page.

Advertisement

On June 6, Salau, who friends and family called “Toyin,” wrote that she was sexually assaulted at 5:30 a.m. in Florida. She was offered a ride by the man who claimed he could help her pick up her belongings from a church and find someplace to sleep for the night. She was staying at a church in order to “escape unjust living conditions.” She was not homeless, her friend confirmed on Twitter, however, she did not feel like she was safe in her home due to sexual assault at the hands of a family member. She was staying with a friend prior to her disappearance.

“When we arrived at his house he offered me a shower and I thanked him,” she wrote, adding that she was given a change of clothes. “He exposed himself to me by peeing with the bathroom open obviously knowing I was out of it,” she continued. She said that the man offered her a massage, and ended up “using her body” while she was still awake. She was able to escape.

“Literally wearing this man’s clothes right now DNA all over me because I couldn’t locate his house the moment I called the police because I couldn’t see,” she wrote. Elsewhere in her tweet thread, Salau described another recent incident in which she was sexually harassed by a 32-year-old man who studies at FAMU. She wrote that he tried to force her to perform oral sex on him, and when she refused, he harassed her through text and tried to come to her home.

Advertisement

Salau was a mainstay during Tallahassee area Black Lives Matter protests. In a video posted on Twitter of Salau speaking at a protest before her disappearance, she discussed the importance of including LGBTQ black people in the Black Lives Matter conversation.

“Tony McDade was a black trans man,” she reminds us. “We’re doing this for every black person, because at the end of the day, I cannot take my fucking skin color off...Wherever the fuck I go, I’m profiled...I’mma die about my fucking skin...my blackness is not for your fucking consumption.”

Advertisement

“Toyin was very passionate,” Danaya Hemphill, Salau’s friend, says of her character. “She was very vocal she was very loving, very spiritual, very caring. Toyin she was like a light in a dark room.”

Advertisement

There was a GoFundMe page circulating to support Toyin, however, Hemphill has invalidated it on Twitter. The person who started the fraudulent one was “most definitely is not a friend of the family.” She also said that those aiming to help should not give her family members money, as Toyin was trying to get away from them.

Advertisement

Rest in power Toyin.

This is a developing story.

Pronounced "Jay-nuh."

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

This child couldn’t trust family, so called friends and there were men preying on her. She literally had no where to turn.

I’m so sorry, Toyin.