UPDATED: 10:39 a.m. ET —
The family of a missing activist in Florida confirmed the young woman had been found dead, according to a report from the Tallahassee Democrat on Monday morning. Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau had been protesting police violence as a Black Lives Matter activist as the nation and world hold demonstrations against racism and police violence.
Salau’s friend told the Democrat about the last time they were together on June 5, the day before she went missing.
“I had a feeling that we were not going to find Toyin alive,” Danaya Hemphill said.
Social media users powered the name of Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau to become a top trending topic Monday morning as thousands of tweets were mourning the life of the young Black Lives Matter activist reportedly found dead in Florida over the weekend. Salau, 19, was last seen in Tallahassee on June 6 before unconfirmed social media reports of her death emerged more than a week later.
The Tallahassee Police Department announced Sunday that it was investigating a double homicide and had made an arrest in the case but neither revealed the identities of the victims nor the suspect.
During “the course of a follow up investigation in a missing person case” on Saturday night, Tallahassee police found “two deceased people,” the Tallahassee Police Department posted on its Facebook page on Sunday. “The deaths are being investigated as homicides and have been turned over to TPD’s Violent Crime Unit.”
People on Twitter quickly pointed to the Facebook post as verification of Salau’s death. It was unclear who the other victim might be.
One Twitter account purportedly belonging to someone helping Salau’s mother tweeted late Sunday night that “Toyin is no longer with us.”
Salau tweeted before her disappearance that she had been sexually assaulted on June 6.
As of Monday morning, a GoFundMe account to help find Salau exceeded its goal of raising $10,000.
Salau’s reported death would be the latest in a recent string of suspicious deaths of young Black people as the nation protests against racism and police violence.
A man identified as Robert Fuller was found on Wednesday hanging from a tree near Palmdale City Hall in California. The 20-year-old had a rope around his neck and was being reported as a suicide, but the hashtag #JusticeForRobertFuller started trending on Twitter as folks suspicious of a coverup called for a deeper investigation into Fuller’s death.
Also last week, two Black trans women were found dead in separate instances. Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells was the first woman found dead when her dismembered body was discovered alongside the Schuylkill River in the Bartman’s Garden area of Philadelphia on June 8. The second trans woman to be killed was Riah Milton. Investigators say she was shot several times during an attempted robbery in Liberty Township, Ohio, on Tuesday.
Those deaths came on the heels of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. Floyd’s killing sparked nationwide protests over police violence and the racism that has many times been credited for such violence.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.
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