Police continue to search for missing Rochester Hills teen

Family offers $5,000 reward for leads

By: Mary Beth Almond | Metro | Published November 10, 2021

 Brendan Santo, 18, who was visiting Michigan State University, was last seen leaving Yakeley Hall at around midnight Oct. 29.  Police conunite to search for the missing teen.

Brendan Santo, 18, who was visiting Michigan State University, was last seen leaving Yakeley Hall at around midnight Oct. 29. Police conunite to search for the missing teen.

Photo provided by Michigan State University Police

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Police from various agencies have joined the search for a Rochester Hills teen who went missing while visiting Michigan State University Oct. 29.

Brendan Thomas Santo, 18, a student at Grand Valley State University, was last seen on Friday, Oct. 29, just before midnight in the area of Yakeley Hall on campus.  

Police say Santo may have been walking to the Brody neighborhood, and his last known location is near Michigan and Beal avenues. He was last seen wearing gray sweatpants, a black T-shirt, a black baseball hat and white Converse high-top shoes.

On Nov. 6, the Michigan State University Police and Public Safety Department announced it was expanding its partnership to include local, state and federal agencies, which will assist with the investigation moving forward.  

“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,” Inspector Chris Rozman, public information officer with the MSU Police and Public Safety Department, said in a press release. “We particularly appreciate the continued help and support offered by Grand Valley State University and Oakland County, who have been providing investigators with direct contact to those close with Brendan.” 

The department’s expanded partnership now includes: the East Lansing Police Department, the FBI, the Grand Valley State University Police Department, the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, the state attorney general’s office, the Michigan State Police and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

“Our genuine hope is that with these additional resources and collaboration we will ensure that all investigative avenues are being explored and the work that we have already done can be reviewed by other professional agencies for collective investigative practices,” Rozman said in a press release. 

Thus far, officials say the effort to find Santo has included searches by foot, drone, helicopter and boat, and it has utilized canine units, divers and civilian volunteers. The investigation, according to police, has also used “advanced techniques” to review cellular, smartphone and GPS data. Investigators continue to review and follow up on tips as they are received. 

MSU Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police Marlon Lynch said the department recognizes that this has been a concerning time for members of the community and beyond. 

“We appreciate the outpouring of support from each of you and your individual efforts to spread awareness about our ongoing efforts,” Lynch said in a press release. “We will continue our tireless search and investigation, and we will do everything we can to bring Brendan home.”

The Santo family is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone with credible information that leads to bringing the teen home. The reward will be managed through Crime Stoppers of Mid-Michigan through the existing MSU Police and Public Safety toll-free tip line and tip email. 

Anyone with information is asked to call 844-99-MSUPD or email tips@police.msu.edu. People can also contact Crime Stoppers of Mid-Michigan at 517-483-STOP or the MSU Police and Public Safety Department at (517) 355-2221.

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