Reward hits $11,000 for info on Oakland teen missing from MSU; donors give $97,000 to expand search

November 14, 2021, 9:32 PM

The Rochester Hills family of Brendan Santo, an 18-year-old missing in East Lansing for over two weeks, more than doubled its reward for credible information that helps authorities find him.

Santo, a college freshman from Grand Valley State University, was visiting friends at Michigan State on Halloween weekend, when it hosted the University of Michigan football team. He was last seen outsisde Yakeley Hall on the north end of campus shortly before midnight Oct. 29. 

Brenda Santo as a Rochester Adams High School senior last spring. (Family photo)

His family's incentive for productive tips, which began at $5,000, is now at $11,000. Leads can be given to Michigan State University police at (844) 996-7873 or at The reward fund is managed by Crime Stopppers of Mid-Michigan, which solicits donations to increase it.

Separately, more than 1,200 people have given over $97,000 in seven days to a GoFundMe drive to pay for flyers, billboards, feeding volunteers, family travel and missed work costs, and "hiring private entities to help increase search efforts." Seven donors gave $1,000, two gave $2,000 and three kicked in $2,500 each.

Divers two weeks ago checked the Red Cedar River, which is near where the teen last was seen. The search also involved a state police helicopter, drones and police dogs. "We have not recovered Brendan's phone and records show no current activity," MSU police Inspector Chris Rozman said in a Nov. 6 media release, adding that foul play is not suspected.

Santo wasn't carrying his car keys and "there is no indication he left the East Lansing area," according to The State News campus paper, which adds:

Brendan’s credit card has not been used since the evening of Oct. 29. The [security] cameras around the area Santo went missing were not operational.

Social media slide

A virtual town hall meeting to discuss campus safety is scheduled at 6 p.m. Wednesday and can be seen here with the passcode 185502. Questions can be submitted here.

A Bring Brendan Santo Home group on Facebook has over 12,000 members. "Brendan was not depressed or unhappy with his home or school life," a friend posts. "He is very close with his parents."


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