Calls for safety improvements near Red Cedar River growing after Brendan Santo's death

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Posted at 7:11 AM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 07:31:11-05

(WXYZ) — Family and friends will be paying tribute to Brendan Santo, the Rochester Hills teen who was found in the Red Cedar River in East Lansing on Friday.

Visitation is being held from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Andrews Catholic Church in Rochester, with a private funeral and burial to be held later.

Santo's family is calling for safety improvements at Michigan State University, and thousands of people have signed a petition, hoping the university will make the changes.

Santo went missing on Oct. 29 at Michigan State in an area that was dark and near the Red Cedar River.

Some say that if there were proper safeguards in place, his death could have been preventable.

The university has since put wired fencing up, but an online petition is calling for even more action.

His disappearance was unsettling, and students like Maxim Jenkins feel like what happened to Santo could have happened to anyone.

"I mean it's tragic. I think it hit the community pretty hard," he said.

An online petition started by his family now has nearly 18,000 signatures as of Thursday morning. It calls for additional fencing, signage and lighting in dangerous spots along the river.

"I can see where they're coming from, because sometimes when you walk by the river, it is rather dark," Adam Gasiorek, an MSU student, said.

The school said the chain-link fence installed where Santo was last seen is only temporary as they look for a permanent solution.

"We started drafting up a bill to call on the university to install barriers, more lighting, more infrastructure improvements for pedestrians to make sure that this doesn't happen again," the general assembly rep for ASMSU said.

In a Facebook post, Santo's parents thanked all the supporters for helping them through the past three months.