EAST LANSING, Mich. (CBS Detroit/AP) — A body found Friday in the Red Cedar River has been confirmed as that of 18-year-old Brendan Santo, who vanished on Oct. 29 while visiting the Michigan State University campus, police said.
MSU Police Inspector Chris Rozman said a medical examiner positively identified Santo's body based on dental records, MLive.com reported.
Brendan Santo (photo provided by MSU police)
After the body was found Friday in the river, which flows through the MSU campus, authorities said they believed it was that of Santo. His body was found about 1.5 miles from where he was last seen in October leaving an MSU residence hall during a campus visit ahead of a football game between MSU and the University of Michigan.
Santo, a student at Grand Valley State University, was from Rochester Hills.
MSU police said Saturday that a private investigator working with the missing young man's family first alerted them to what turned out to be the youth's body in the river.
Campus police said a tip from private investigator Ryan Robison at about midnight on Jan. 21 led divers to recover the body from the river.
Robison informed the Santo family and then called 911, leading to the body's recovery, police said.
Police said that additional information was not initially released Friday because they weren't sure if Robison or the Santo family wanted it public.
"Our original news release said that we have worked collaboratively with the Santo family and their supporters, and that partnership was essential in our effort to find Brendan," they said. "Not only is that statement true, we cannot thank Ryan enough for his relentless efforts. 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 are grateful for the tireless dedication of the Santo family and all of their supporters throughout this investigation. We wanted to state this publicly now that we have received permission from the family."
Police added that it had planned this week to search the area of the river where Santo's body was found.
Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said on Friday that the department's search and rescue team -- totaling 10 deputies -- assisted in the recovery of the body.
"Our deepest sympathies are with the family and his friends. We know that there is a void they will never fill from this tragedy but sincerely hope this brings them a sliver of peace," Bouchard said.
© 2022 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
for more features.