One question has rattled the Michigan State University community and beyond: Where is 18-year-old Brendan Santo?
Campus police say they’ve recovered a body believed to be the teen’s in a river 1.5 miles away from where Santo was last seen at the college more than 80 days ago. He had been visiting friends before he went missing, and police say they conducted “an extensive search.”
Identification of the body, found in Red Cedar River that runs through MSU in East Lansing, is pending, police said in a Jan. 21 news release, adding that Santo’s family was notified.
“We still have no reason to believe foul play is involved or that Brendan intended to harm himself,” campus authorities said.
“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.”
Santo disappeared during Halloween weekend at the university and was last seen before midnight in the area of Yakeley Hall, a female residence hall, on Oct. 29, McClatchy News reported.
His car remained “in the last location it was parked,” and there was “no indication he left the East Lansing area,” campus police said Nov. 1 in the first news release on his disappearance.
Authorities believe Santo was headed to the Brody Neighborhood a half-mile away after leaving Yakeley Hall.
The investigation zeroed in on Red Cedar River days after his disappearance, according to a Nov. 4 news release. Campus police had interviewed “everyone who last had contact or spoke with Brendan” and reviewed the area’s surveillance cameras and smartphone and GPS data but found no trace of him.
“The water search is complex and challenging. We have used sonar, canines, and other underwater technology as part of the river search to identify areas of interest in the water,” authorities said on Dec. 23.
They also used river divers, a drone, helicopter and a boat in the search for Santo.
“We know this news may be difficult for those within our campus community and beyond,” campus police said Jan. 21.
“It’s important to remember that the grief some individuals may be experiencing is normal and there are a number of ways in which individuals can seek support, including talking with friends, family and colleagues to process this.”
“This is beyond heartbreaking,” one Facebook user commented on MSU’s Police and Public Safety post. “We’ve all had kids visit other campuses.”
Santo was a student at Grand Valley State University 83 miles away from MSU.