$11K reward in Santo case as MSU says camera wasn't working at time of disappearance

Posted at 10:35 PM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 23:10:40-05

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — In a letter from Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley, we found out that the camera located at the entrance of the campus hall where Brendan Santo was last seen was not working.

A security expert with decades of law enforcement experience, Ned Timmons says the missing video is "instrumental to this investigation.”

“That video would give us the evidence on who he was with to approach these people to see what happened,” Timmons adds.

In the letter to Spartan families, President Stanley says, "I have learned our camera at the entrance of Yakeley Hall was not operational the night Brendan was last seen.”

“The video coverage of an incident is so vital to the investigation,” says Timmons, a former FBI agent who owns Legal and Security Strategies.

“In the FBI, I worked bank robberies for several years and, frequently, we would go to a bank that had been robbed, go and pull the surveillance photos and the cameras were malfunctioned and didn’t work or they were unhooked. It’s frustrating,” he adds.

Timmons says without this video investigators have to rely heavily on statements to find the Grand Valley State University student who was visiting friends at MSU the weekend of the big game against Michigan.

“You’re just going to have to keep interviewing and interviewing and put together all the clues,” he adds.

Timmons said it’s not unheard of for cameras to stop working.

“In all security, things will happen,” he says.

President Stanley says the university is fixing the problem by installing “more than 300 new cameras throughout our campus.”

Timmons says, “They probably will be state of the art. They are going to realize that these cameras need to be maintained and checked and make sure they are working.”

MSU Police say Santo was last seen near Michigan Ave. and Beal St wearing a black baseball cap, white Converse shoes, and a cross necklace.

7 Action News did reach out to Brendan’s parents for comment but right now they aren’t ready to talk.

“The family should rest in knowing that they’ve got an incredible team working on the case. They are very competent and well trained and educated. They are going to get to the bottom of it,” Timmons adds.

On Saturday, November 12th there is a community prayer gathering at Rochester Adams High School Starting at 9 a.m.

There is a civilian search scheduled for 10 a.m. in East Lansing at the MSU Union Building. The family invites all to come.