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MSU Police: Tip From Private Investigator Led To Discovery Of Body Believed To Be Brendan Santo

(CBS Detroit) -- In an update on Saturday, Michigan State University police said a private investigator working with Brendan Santo's family notified them of what is believed to be Santo's body located in the Red Cedar River after reviewing underwater video.

The 18-year-old Grand Valley State University student had been missing since Oct. 29, 2021, and was at MSU visiting friends. A body was found at about 12:30 p.m., on Jan. 21, approximately 1.5 miles from where Santo was last seen.

Police said identification is pending.

They said the area was of significant interest to authorities and Santo's family. A search was scheduled for the week of Jan. 24 that would involve clearing logs and debris to make it safer for divers and get a boat in the water. Police said the family was also aware of the scheduled search.

However, at about midnight on Jan. 21, authorities were notified by private investigator Ryan Robison that while reviewing the video, he spotted something submerged in that area and suspected it was Santo's body.

"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. This information quickly resulted in the gathering of multiple dive resources to explore the specific spot where Brendan was suspected as part of our continued search operation," MSU police said in the update.

Police say that additional information was not initially released 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."

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