Friday, December 3, 2021

Reward for credible information to locate Brendan Santo increases to $11,000

November 12, 2021
The family of Brendan Santo organized a volunteer search via Facebook, occurring from 11 a.m. to dusk. Volunteers came together on Nov. 6 to look for Brendan Santo, who went missing on campus on Oct. 29. Shot on Nov. 6, 2021.
The family of Brendan Santo organized a volunteer search via Facebook, occurring from 11 a.m. to dusk. Volunteers came together on Nov. 6 to look for Brendan Santo, who went missing on campus on Oct. 29. Shot on Nov. 6, 2021. —
Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

On Nov. 11, missing Grand Valley State University student Brendan Santo's family increased the reward from $5,000 to $11,000 for anyone with credible information that leads to bringing Santo home.

The reward will be managed through Crime Stoppers of Mid-Michigan through MSUPD’s toll-free tip line and tip email.

In addition, on Nov. 9, a GoFundMe was organized by Melissa Corsi for Santo's family. Over $84,000 has been donated by over 723 donors in the past 36 hours.

The funds will be used to hire private entities to help increase search efforts, print flyers, help with family costs incurred due to absence from work and traveling between East Lansing and home, feed volunteers and notify additional publications to get the word out about Brendan, including billboard signs.

Michigan State University Police and Public Safety has also expanded its partnerships with local, state and federal agencies to assist with the investigation.

Oakland County and Grand Valley State University agencies are now assisting the investigation.

“We have been collaborating with our local, state, and federal partners for several days, and this arrangement formalizes and expands our team while making additional expert resources and personnel available to assist us in bringing Brendan home,” MSUPD inspector Chris Rozman said in a Nov. 6 press release.

As of now, the search operation has included searches by foot, helicopter, drone and boat.

“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.”

In addition, the data is also being reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI.

"We have not recovered Brendan’s phone and records show no current activity. We are confident that we have obtained the available information from his digital footprint." Rozman said in a Nov. 4 press release.

The last confirmed location of Santo’s phone is Beal Street. Authorities confirmed his battery drained down to 0%, according to the Bring Brendan Home Facebook page. It was not deliberately shut off. Santo has a dark-colored iPhone 11, with no screen protector.

"The enhanced investigative team has begun to meet and review all leads and all the work that has been done so far to review our collective investigative practices," Rozman said in an email statement to The State News. "We also continue our search of the Red Cedar River as that area remains of particular interest, however, we continue to explore and consider other possibilities."

Santo was not carrying the keys to his vehicle, his family was able to take it home. However, he was carrying the keys to his friend's vehicle. The friend’s vehicle was parked at Emmons Hall on Friday. The car was then towed to a dealership on Sunday for new keys.

Santo's friends checked the vehicle throughout the day on Saturday, thinking he had fallen asleep in it. When Santo didn't return, his friends contacted MSUPD. The police searched the vehicle and his friends are cooperating with the department.

Foul play is not suspected in Santo’s disappearance, and MSUPD has received no other reports of missing persons.

Brendan’s credit card has not been used since the evening of Oct. 29. The cameras around the area Santo went missing were not operational.

"Brendan was not depressed or unhappy with his home or school life. He is very close with his parents," the Facebook page said.

Brendan did not intend to harm himself, MSUPD confirmed.

“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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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.

The Santo family has encouraged community members to continue to keep their eyes open and provide tips or information to investigators.

They organized a volunteer search beginning from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m on Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Michigan State University Union.

MSUPD and its law enforcement partners were also involved in the volunteer search effort.

If you have any information, call MSUPD toll-free at 844-99-MSUPD or email tips@police.msu.edu. You can also contact Crime Stoppers of Mid-Michigan at 517-483-STOP.

For resources, the MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is available 24/7 by calling 517-355-8270. The MSU Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is also available by calling 517-355-4506.

Students at Grand Valley State University can also contact their University Counseling Center at 616-331-3266.

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