18-Yr-old Rochester Hills resident and Grand Valley State University student Brendan Santos was visiting friends at Michigan State University for the weekend of the MSU vs. UM football game. Santos was last seen leaving Yakeley Hall, a dorm on the MSU campus, around midnight; according to the police report, he was heading to another dorm on campus.
The Santos family and friends of the family have been relentless in their efforts to find Brendan.
Concerned students, friends, and perfect strangers joined the Bring Brendan Santo Home Facebook Page, as well as their Twitter and Instagram accounts. Flyers offering rewards and showing current images of Brendan, along with the items that were likely in his possession at the time of his disappearance, were distributed around campus and around the East Lansing community. Volunteers in Michigan and across the country place flyers in rest areas and businesses in several states.
As more time elapsed, hopes for finding Brendan alive began to fade for many, but his parents continued to keep the faith that their son would be found.
Fox 2 Detroit – Brendan Santo’s phone was last pinged near Michigan Avenue and Beal Street shortly before midnight.
His parents said he seemed to be in good spirits the night he disappeared, and his last texts were to his friends telling them he was on his way.
“He shared his location with one of the friends so that all seemed normal. You know, that’s our challenge, you know. They’ve communicated that with police. They’re like, ‘Yeah, he was texting us normal,’ and his phone just went out,” Brad Santo said.
“The challenge for us is going to bed every night not knowing where your son is,” Brendan’s father, Brad Santo, said. “It’s tough.”
The Santo family has been returning to the Michigan State campus nearly every day since last October, retracing steps and playing out theories in an effort to put the missing pieces of a puzzle together.
“I’ve tried climbing the wire over there,” Santo’s father said of trying to retrace his son’s steps. “It just doesn’t seem he’s obviously much younger than I am; it is just not an easy, not an easy thing to get over.”
Police initially believed Santo hadn’t gone too far since his vehicle was found in the same place he first left it. His last known location was outside of Yakeley Hall on Oct. 29. Police believe the Red Cedar River, which meanders through campus, would offer proof about what happened to the teen.
Adding to the struggles of searching for Santo is the information that some of the security cameras at Yakeley Hall were not working at the time Santo went missing.
Only moments ago, MSU Police released a devastating statement about a body they found about 1.5 miles downriver of where Santo was last seen. They believe the body is Brendan’s.
Here is a portion of their statement:
After an extensive search, MSU Police and Public Safety and our law enforcement partners recovered a body in the Red Cedar River at 12:30 p.m. today in Lansing, approximately 1.5 miles downriver of where Brendan Santo was last seen. The body is believed to be that of Santo, but identification is still pending. The discovery was made possible as part of a collaborative effort between law enforcement and other partner resources.
The Santo family has been informed, and we are providing them with as much information and support as possible during this difficult time. We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Santo family and all those who knew Brendan.