Name: Brendan Santo
Age: 18 years old
Last seen: October 29, 2021
Location: East Lansing, Michigan
Status: Found deceased in January 2022
18 year old Brendan Santo was last seen in East Lansing, Michigan on October 29, 2021. He disappeared while visiting friends at Michigan State University during the weekend of the Michigan vs Michigan State football game.
Brendan Santo was born on April 1, 2003 to parents Brad and Wendy Santo.
Santo was a graduate of Rochester Adams High School in Rochester Hills, Michigan, where he played hockey for Rochester United.
At the time of his disappearance, Santo was a college freshman at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, majoring in cybersecurity. He lived with his parents in Rochester Hills, located in Oakland County.
On October 29, 2021, Brendan Santo drove from Grand Valley University to East Lansing to visit friends at Michigan State University over Halloween weekend. The next day also happened to be the big Michigan State University vs. University of Michigan football game.
Santo hung out with friends on the evening of October 29, before deciding to head back to his friend’s dorm where he was staying. Between 11:30 and 11:45 pm, he sent text messages to several friends, telling them he was on his way to join them, before his phone eventually died.
Brenda Santo never showed up at his friend’s dorm, and has never been heard from again.
The next morning his friends filed a missing person’s with the Michigan State University campus police when they couldn’t contact him.
Brendan Santo was last seen leaving Yakeley Hall on Michigan State University’s campus. As security cameras at the entrance of Yakeley Hall were not operational on the night he went missing, they couldn’t capture where he was headed.
Authorities believe Santo was likely walking towards the Brody Neighborhood where he was staying at a friend’s dorm, which is located a half mile away on the west side of campus.
His cell phone, which disappeared with him, last pinged to a cell tower near Michigan Avenue and Beal Street, not far from the Red Cedar River, shortly before midnight.
Surveillance cameras in the area were not working at the time, so there’s no footage showing exactly where he was, or what direction he was walking.
His phone record, bank account, and social media have shown no activity since he disappeared.
Due to the proximity of the Red Cedar River to where Santo disappeared, authorities conducted an extensive search of the area with dive teams searching the river by boat, state police aircrafts, drones, and police dogs.
There were also two civilian searches done with 800+ volunteers on the MSU campus.
His vehicle was located by police in the same spot Santo parked when he arrived at campus for the weekend. Inside the car, a Halloween costume purchased the day before was found. They do not believe he left the East Lansing area.
Following Brendan Santo’s disappearance, multiple unconfirmed sightings were reported in the Lansing area, with some tips coming from as far away as Oklahoma.
Santo’s disappearance prompted the FBI and the Michigan State Police Department to get involved in his case.
Brendan Santo’s Body Recovered on January 21, 2022
On January 21, 2022, the Michigan State Police announced they had recovered a body from the Red Cedar River that they believe to be Brendan Santo’s.
The body was recovered from the river around 12:30 pm, about 1.5 miles from where Santo was last seen.
According to MSU police Inspector Chris Rozman, Friday’s search efforts were focused on a dangerous part of the river that they had been interested in searching, and were finally able to reach the area after clearing trees and brush.
Authorities have no reason to believe foul play way involved in Santo’s death, but said the investigation remains open.
Update: The body was positively identified through dental records as belonging to Brendan Santo on Saturday, January 22, 2022.
Brendan Santo’s Death Ruled Accidental Drowning
In March 2022 the Ingham County Medical Examiner’s office released Santo’s autopsy report, which lists his cause of death as accidental drowning, with acute ethanol intoxication listed as a contributory condition. The report states that Santo had no diseases or injuries.
The Michigan State University Police Department issued a statement, thanking everyone who assisted with the case, and asking that everyone keep the Santo family in their thoughts.
Police found no evidence, means or motive for foul play in Brendan Santo’s disappearance. According to his family, he was looking forward to his college life and future and it would be completely out of character for him to just vanish.
A reward of over $20,000 is being offered by his family through Crime Stoppers of Mid-Michigan for information leading to his whereabouts.
The circumstances of Brendan Santo’s disappearance remain unclear and his case is currently classified as missing. His case remains unsolved.
Caucasian male born on April 1, 2003. He has brown hair and hazel eyes. Brendan is 5’10 tall and weighs 160 pounds.
Clothing and accessories:
Brendan was last seen wearing a pair of gray sweatpants, a black t-shirt, a black Red Wing (Yzerman) baseball hat and white Comme des Garcons Converse high-top shoes.
He was wearing a gold necklace with a Celtic cross, and carrying an Iphone 12 in a blue case and his dark brown wallet.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Brendan Santo please contact the Michigan State University Police at (517) 355-2221. Tips can be made anonymously at 844-99-MSUPD (844-996-7873) or to the Crime Stoppers of Mid-Michigan at 517-843-STOP.
Resources & Further Information
News & Media Links
Police searching for missing MSU visitor – Lansing State Journal 10/21
Mystery deepens into disappearance of Brendan Santo as search for Rochester Hills teen enters third week – Fox 2 Detroit 11/21
Police provide photos of necklace, shoes worn by 18 year old who went missing at MSU – Michigan Live
Family offers reward in case of teen missing at MSU – Fox 2 Detroit 11/21
Where is Brendan Santo? Family begs people to keep looking for teen who disappeared from MSU campus in October – Fox 2 Detroit 12/21
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