Tuesday, December 7, 2021

MSP Marine Services assists MSUPD in search for Brendan Santo

November 2, 2021
Michigan State University Police Department provides updates in the search for Brendan Santo on Nov. 2, 2021.
Michigan State University Police Department provides updates in the search for Brendan Santo on Nov. 2, 2021. —
Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

The Michigan State University’s Police Department, or MSUPD, is continuing its search for Brendan Santo.

On Nov. 2, the MSUPD and the Marine Services Divison of the Michigan State Police, or MSP, conducted a search operation at the Jenison Fieldhouse, near the Red Cedar River. The Ingham County Sheriff’s Office has also provided assistance with specialized units.

“To enhance our search efforts, we are utilizing resources from other state and local law enforcement agencies,” MSUPD inspector Chris Rozman said.

MSP’s Marine Services Division has been conducting its search operation by boat and is using advanced sonar technology.

As of now, the search operation has included searches by foot, helicopter, drone and boat. Since Saturday, several canines have been used as well.

“The Red Cedar River is of particular interest just due to the close proximity (to) where Brendan was last seen,” Rozman said. “That particular search effort is requiring additional resources from MSP’s Marine Services Divison.”

Two miles of the river run through the MSU campus.

MSUPD’s digital forensics and cybercrime unit and MSP’s Technical Services Unit have also been involved in the search operation.

“Our investigators have been diligent in this investigation,” Rozman said. “They’ve interviewed everyone who last had contact or spoke with Brendan, and they’ve reviewed surveillance cameras. They've also utilized advanced investigative techniques. They've reviewed cellular telephone data, smartphone data, GPS data.”

No parts of MSU’s campus have been closed during the search.

“We’re asking people to kinda avoid the area,” he said. “We can’t completely secure the area. ... We’ve been really open in terms of what we’ve done so far.”

Santo was last seen on Oct. 29, leaving Yakeley Hall shortly before midnight. It is possible Santo planned to walk approximately a half-mile to the Brody Neighborhood, according to a Nov. 1 MSUPD news release.

Yakeley Hall is located on the north end of MSU’s campus, near Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue.

Santo was not a student at MSU and was visiting friends. However, there is no indication he left the East Lansing area. Santo’s vehicle was left in the last location it was parked.

He was last seen wearing gray sweatpants, a black T-shirt, a black baseball hat and Converse shoes. Santo is five feet, 10 inches, and 160 lbs.

“We remain hopeful while at the same time acknowledging that he has been missing for over three days. ... All of our officers and investigators are working very hard to bring this case to a resolution,” Rozman said.

MSUPD remains in close contact with Santo’s family. They have been provided with a place to stay near campus as search operations continue.

The department has received no information or indication foul play was involved in this incident.

“If at such time we determined that that were the case,” Rozman said. “We would immediately notify the MSU community. ... We are very confident right now that so far in our investigation it is not indicated foul play is involved at any level.”

“There’s been a lot of misinformation,” Rozman said. “I can confirm that there's no other reports of any missing students on campus. I can confirm that we have not received any reports of any criminal activity related to this. ... There is nothing we have that we have not released to the public that involves this case.”

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Rozman said investigators are piecing together where Santo went and what he did. There are no significant leads at this point.

“Our campus is a safe place for our students and employees right now. We just ask that everyone respect the search that is currently underway by law enforcement. We continue to think about, and pray for, Brendan and his family during this time,” said MSU spokesperson Emily Guerrant in an email to The State News.

MSUPD is asking anybody who had contact with Santo on Friday, Oct. 29, to contact investigators if they haven’t spoken with them or have any information.

If you have any information, call the toll-free tip line at 844-99-MSUPD or email to tips@police.msu.edu.

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