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Body found in Red Cedar River confirmed to be Brendan Santo

January 21, 2022
After almost three months of searching, on Jan. 21, 2022, police have found a body in the Red Cedar River that they believe to be Brendan Santo. The body has yet to be formally identified.
After almost three months of searching, on Jan. 21, 2022, police have found a body in the Red Cedar River that they believe to be Brendan Santo. The body has yet to be formally identified. —
Photo by Sheldon Krause | The State News

On Jan. 21, a body believed to be missing Grand Valley State University student Brendan Santo was found in the Red Cedar River.

On Jan. 22, MSUPD Inspector Chris Rozman confirmed to the State News in an email, the medical examiner positively identified the body found as Santo based on dental records. 

“The Santo family has been informed and we are providing them with as much information and support as possible during this difficult time,” a Jan. 21 MSUPD news release said. “We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Santo family and all those who knew Brendan.”

MSUPD confirmed they have no reason to believe foul play is involved or that Santo intended to harm himself.

However, the details and circumstances surrounding the incident will continue to be investigated by MSUPD and its law enforcement partners.

The search for Santo has lasted over 80 days after he was last seen Oct. 29, 2021, leaving Yakeley Hall.

“The discovery was made possible as part of a collaborative effort between law enforcement and other partner resources,” the news release said.

MSUPD worked with East Lansing Police Department, Grand Valley State University Police Department, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan Department of Attorney General, Michigan State Police, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI during the investigation.

Michigan State University Police and Public Safety expanded its partnerships with local, state and federal agencies to assist with the investigation. Oakland County and Grand Valley State University agencies assisted the investigation.

In an email, President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. thanked those who participated in search efforts over the past months.

“We want to thank everyone who has contributed in some way to the search efforts to date, including our campus partners, the volunteers who posted flyers across our community and joined the search efforts with us and the Santo family, and every law enforcement agency who dedicated time and resources to bring Brendan home,” Stanley said. “This entire effort was a collaboration between many law enforcement groups, the family and their resources and countless volunteers.”

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

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include identity confirmation from MSUPD inspector Chris Rozman.

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