It’s been almost three months since I turned 18 Brendan Santo disappeared while visiting friends in East Lansing, Michigan, the weekend of the Michigan-Michigan State football game.
There are still no clues as to what happened to the Grand Valley University student who went missing over Halloween weekend, but the search for him continues, and his family hasn’t given up hope. “We just want Brendan back,” they told ABC News.
“It’s unbelievable in this day and age that someone can disappear,” said Dawn Brewer, Brendan’s aunt. “Our family is desperately begging anyone with information to provide information even if it is anonymous.”
Santo was last seen around midnight on October 29 on the MSU campus, near Yakeley Hall, authorities said. He was wearing gray sweatpants, a black T-shirt, a Detroit Red Wings cap and a Converse turtleneck, police said. He’s about 5 feet 10 tall and weighs 160 pounds.
Santo’s friends believe he is heading towards the Brody neighborhood where he is staying with other friends, but he never arrives. His phone was at 0% battery when he went missing, the last text he sent was around 11:45pm
The surveillance cameras in Yakeley Hall were not working the night Brendan went missing, MSUPD confirmed, and there were no other cameras in the area.
“Finding out what happened after Brendan left Yakeley Hall is the key to finding Brendan, or at least adding another piece to this gruesome puzzle,” Brewer said.
Santo’s friends reported him missing the next morning. According to MSUPD, Brendan’s car remains in the last spot it was parked and there is no indication that he has left the East Lansing area.
Shortly after Santo went missing, the FBI joined state and local agencies in the search, which included efforts on foot, drones, helicopters, and boats. Authorities used multiple K9 teams early in the investigation, including dissection dogs.
According to MSUPD, numerous dog carcass marks in the Red Cedar River near Santo’s last known location along with his digital footprints have led investigators to focus on the Red Cedar River, although they are exploring other possibilities.
“As a parent, family member or friend, you want to turn over each rock as quickly as possible to get the information you need to find your loved one. We understand that an investigation like this can be. It takes time, but it’s very difficult,” said Santo’s aunt.
So far no one has seen Santo and none of his belongings have been found, but interest in his disappearance is growing. Volunteer searches, charity events and various fundraising activities have helped raise awareness, as well as on social media.
There have been two large-scale civilian searches with more than 800 volunteers scouring the area for Santo’s red-and-black hat, blue iPhone, car keys or gold necklace. According to the family, some MSU students and locals continue to search every day.
“Many of these people don’t know Brendan or our family, but take the time and energy to help us every day… our family continues to be overwhelmed by their support and dedication.” Brewer told ABC News.
The family-run Facebook page “Bringing Brendan Santo home” has reached more than 43,000 members, belonging to BBH Warriors. Many people are participating in the #bringbrendanhome flyer challenge, which encourages people to print Brendan’s flyers and post photos with the hashtags # “#bringbrendanhome.” According to the family, flyers were posted across the country and beyond. An Instagram account created to advertise continues to grow, as more people join the search for the missing teen.
“Our family continues to have hope and prayer for his safe return,” Brewer said. The family is following the mantra “Keep the Faith” until they bring Brendan home.
The reward for any reliable information about Brendan’s whereabouts has increased to more than $20,000. The tips line can be reached at 844-99-MSUPD (844-996-7873), email@example.com or Mid-Michigan Crime Stoppers 517-483-STOP (7867) https://www.crimestoppersofmidmichigan.com/.
https://abcnews.go.com/US/20k-reward-offered-student-vanished-michigan-state-university/story?id=82315503 $20K Award Given to Disappeared Students at Michigan State University