Foul play not suspected in missing case at MSU as probe focuses on river, police say

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Foul play is not suspected in the disappearance of an 18-year-old at Michigan State University last weekend, and investigators are focusing on searching a river on campus,  authorities said Thursday.

“The investigation has led us to focus on the Red Cedar River, which is in very close proximity to Brendan’s last known location. However, we continue to investigate other possibilities,” MSU Police said in a press release.

“We are continuing to use specialized resources from the Michigan State Police Marine Services Division, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, and the Capital Area Dive Team for this intensive search of the water.”

Brendan Santo

Investigators have not yet recovered Brendan Santo's cell phone and records show no current activity, according to the release.

Meanwhile, the FBI is reviewing cellular, smartphone and GPS data along with the MSU Police Digital Forensics and Cyber Crime Unit as well as the Michigan State Police Technical Services Unit.

"We are confident that we have obtained the available information from his digital footprint," police said Thursday.

They also do not believe Santo, a Grand Valley State University student from Rochester Hills, intended to harm himself.

The teen was last seen leaving Yakeley Hall shortly before midnight Friday on the East Lansing campus, where he had been visiting friends, police reported.

His vehicle appeared to be in the last spot where it was parked.

Police have said it is possible he planned to walk about a half-mile to another dormitory.

Authorities have searched on foot, by helicopter, drone and boat.

Friends from Metro Detroit also organized a car pool to travel to MSU and join the search. 

"The Santo family has asked us to share their thanks to everyone who has participated in the search and shared information," police said Thursday. "They encourage community members to continue to keep their eyes open and provide tips or information to investigators."

Santo is described as 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, with brown hair, last seen wearing gray sweatpants, a black T-shirt, a black baseball hat and white Converse high-top shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call 844-99-MSUPD or email