Teen Vanished From Mich. Campus 3 Months Ago — and Family Is 'Desperately Begging' for Answers

·4 min read
brendan santo
brendan santo

MSU POLICE Brendan Santo

Police are continuing their months-long search for 18-year-old student Brendan Santo.

Santo was visiting friends at Michigan State University, a school he did not attend, at the time of his disappearance in October, according to MSU police. The Grand Valley State University student was last seen near Yakeley Hall, a dormitory, shortly before midnight on Oct. 29 — the weekend of a big football game between Michigan and MSU.

The student, who is 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, was last seen wearing gray sweatpants, a black t-shirt, a black baseball hat and white Converse high-top shoes, police said.

"He had intended to walk back to the Brodie neighborhood, which was less than a half mile west southwest of Yakeley Hall," MSUPD inspector Chris Rozman told NBC affiliate WDIV. "He never made it to that destination."

Friends reported him as missing the next morning, according to ABC News.

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In their initial press release, MSU police said his vehicle was found in the last location where it was parked and that there was "no indication he left the East Lansing area."

His credit card has not been used since before he went missing on Oct. 29, police told WDIV. Additionally, surveillance cameras in the area were not working on the night of his disappearance.

brendan santo
brendan santo

MSU POLICE Brendan Santo

As efforts to find Santo have not been successful, his family is asking for anyone with information to come forward.

"It is unfathomable to believe in this day and age someone can just disappear," his aunt, Dawn Brewer, told ABC News. "Our family is desperately begging anyone with information to come forward even anonymously."

"As a parent, family member or friend, you want to turn over every boulder as fast as you can to get the information you need to find your loved one," Brewer continued. "We understand an investigation like this can take time, but it has been very difficult."

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Thus far, authorities say they have searched for Santo by foot, drone, helicopter and boat, utilizing canine units, divers and civilian volunteers.

"It's not every day that a young college student goes missing without a whole lot of leads," Rozman told WDIV.

Throughout their investigation, an area of focus has continued to be the Red Cedar River, which is located near the area where the missing student was last seen. Unfortunately, searching the river has proved difficult.

"The water search is complex and challenging," police wrote in a case update last month. "We have used sonar, canines, and other underwater technology as part of the river search to identify areas of interest in the water."

Rozman told WDIV that in addition to having a current of about 5-6 mph, the "depth of the river is 8-12 feet, at times, and the visibility is 0-2 feet."

"There are also a lot of obstacles present in the river and other underwater entanglement hazards that present a lot of danger for the divers," the investigator noted.

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Although many questions remain unanswered, police have maintained throughout the investigation that foul play is not suspected in Santo's disappearance.

"Our investigative work has been reviewed by our local, state, and federal partners and we still do not believe foul play is involved," MSU police wrote in an update on Dec. 23.

"There have been no confirmed sightings of Brendan since he was last seen on October 29th. To date, our investigation and search efforts have not located any items of interest or any of Brendan's personal property," they continued.

In a previous update in November, police shared that they "do not believe that Brendan intended to harm himself."

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Throughout the difficult period, Brandon's family have had the support of the "Bring Brendan Santo Home" community — a Facebook page run by the family with over 40,000 members.

His family told ABC News that members have posted his flyers all across the U.S. to help get the word out to as many people as possible.

"Our family continues to have hope and pray he will be returned safely," his aunt told ABC News.

Anyone with credible information about Brendan's whereabouts can call toll-free at 844-99-MSUPD (844-996-7873), email tips@police.msu.edu or contact Crime Stoppers of Mid-Michigan at 517-483-STOP.

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