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MSU students react to recovery of body believed to be Brendan Santo

Brendan Santo
Posted at 10:07 PM, Jan 21, 2022

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — A monthslong search finally came to an end. Divers in the Red Cedar River have recovered a body believed to be 18-year-old Brendan Santo.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss and our thoughts go out to the Santo family and all those who knew Brendan,” said Inspector Chris Rozman with the Michigan State University Police Department.

Santo, who was originally from Rochester Hills, attended Grand Valley State University.

He was last seen the night of Oct. 29, 2021 near the Red Cedar River by Yakeley Hall on Michigan State’s campus. He was visiting friends for the weekend when he vanished. Students on campus have followed the case every sense.

“It's been very big on social media, everyone has access to Instagram," said MSU student Troy Herd. "Flyers have been posted and things have been going out.”

Through the months, MSU police relied on volunteers and other agencies to help their search in and around the river, an area they have long said was their main focus.

Word of the discovery spread quickly on campus Friday.

“I feel like they’ve been looking throughout that river the whole time, so I was surprised to hear that they finally found him after this long,” MSU student Faraaz Quraishi said.

Some students say there’s still concern on campus over the disappearance. While police say there is no reason to believe foul play was involved or that Santo intended to harm himself, they will continue to investigate the disappearance to answer as many questions as they can.

“As an MSU community, I think there’s going to be a lot of worry since we don’t really know who did it or if somebody did it," MSU student Ankur Bansal said. "The person could be out there right now, so we don’t know how to feel right now.”

MSU police have no reason to believe there is a threat to the community and reiterate there is no evidence of foul play. An autopsy will be done to provide more answers surrounding Santo's death.

In addition to local law enforcement, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department went to the Lansing area to help search the river.

“Our Search and Rescue Team joined with other agencies in a coordinated effort to help bring closure to a grieving family,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement. “Our team which totaled 10 Deputies, spent 11 days and more than 800 hours – with some team members working 14 hours a day – in the effort to find this young man. Our deepest sympathies are with the family and his friends. We know that there is a void they will never fill from this tragedy but sincerely hope this brings them a sliver of peace.”