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MSUPD credits private investigator Ryan Robison for locating missing Brendan Santo

January 22, 2022
<p>After almost three months of searching, on Jan. 21, 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.</p>

After almost three months of searching, on Jan. 21, 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. 

Michigan State University Police and Public Safety found a body in the Red Cedar River at 12:30 p.m. in Lansing, 1.5 miles downriver of where Santo was last seen. Identification of the body is pending, but the body is believed to be that of Santo.

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,” a Jan. 21 MSUPD news release said.

“The spot where Brendan was located in the logjam had been an area of significant interest for law enforcement, search teams, and the Santo family,” MSUPD Inspector Chris Rozman said in an email statement. “The Santo family was aware of a complex law enforcement search operation planned for that specific area of the river the week of January 24th that would involve clearing logs and debris to make it safer for divers and get a boat in the water.” 

Rozman confirmed Robison informed MSUPD on Jan. 21 of something completely submerged in the water at the logjam, the body of Santo.

“Ryan proceeded to the Santo residence to share the findings with the Santo family. Following this, Ryan contacted the 911 centers in both Ingham and Oakland counties sharing the photo and location,” Rozman said. 

As part of MSUPD’s continued search operation, multiple dive resources were gathered to explore where Santo’s body was suspected to be. Resources from MSUPD, then, closed off the area around the logjam. At first light, dive teams were in the water to begin the recovery process.  

“… Our original news release said that we have worked collaboratively with the Santo family and their supporters…Not only is that statement true, we cannot thank Ryan enough for his relentless efforts,” Rozman said. "Ryan shared with responders that morning that he was in awe of the totality of the response on January 21 from divers and rescue teams from multiple departments…We wanted to state this publicly now that we have received permission from the family.”

In addition, the email statement said, MSUPD did not intend to not to give proper credit to all those involved.

“…Each of our partner agencies, including Ryan, offered important information and resources that led to yesterday’s discovery. Again, we thank them all,” he said. 

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 article was updated to remove information about the search from a Facebook post.

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