Petition to dam Red Cedar River gains momentum, reward increased to $30,000 in search for Brendan Santo

Petition to dam Red Cedar River gains momentum, reward increased to $30,000 in search for Brendan Santo
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 1:30 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 at 5:49 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Brendan Santo was last seen at Michigan State University’s Yakeley Hall around midnight on Friday, Oct. 29. As of the time of writing, police are uncertain what happened to him.

The search for Santo has been intense and public, which is why many are frustrated that it’s bore so little fruit. Police located his car where he left it, but there has been very little other physical evidence.

Students at MSU said the more it takes to find Santo, the more their fears grow. The situation has made some students reconsider the way they travel across campus.

“It’s definitely an uneasy feeling and something I don’t really wish to have again,” said MSU freshman Kera Volkmer. “It’s weird to know that he’s probably around here somewhere and it’s just, we don’t know where he is.”

The Red Cedar River has been a major focus in the search. However, weather conditions, visibility and the size of the search area have made locating anything underwater a difficult prospect.

Background: Police consider damming Red Cedar River in Brendan Santo search

That’s part of the reason why a group is petitioning newly elected East Lansing Mayor Ron Bacon to dam the river. A petition on makes the case for damming the river in order to make the search easier, and get answers for the family.

“The river is dangerous for divers to search due to debris. I urge an immediate temporary damming of the river,” an organizer wrote on the petition page. “This way the search can proceed safely, and can either find Brendan Santo or rule out his being there.”

The petition gained momentum quickly, and was nearing 10,000 signatures at the time of writing. However, it’s not the only front the concerned public is attacking the problem from.

Santo’s family had been offering a $20,000 reward for any tips that lead to Santo’s return. Now, that reward has been raised to $30,000.

What we know so far
Santo was last seen leaving MSU’s Yakely Hall around midnight on Oct. 29.
He wearing a Red Wing’s hat, black shirt, gray sweat pants and white shoes.
He was carrying an iPhone 12 in a blue case.
According to his friends he was traveling to back to where he was staying at Brody, though it’s believed a Snapchat he sent implied he had become lost.
His last recorded cellular activity was on Beal street, near Michigan Ave.
Cameras in the area where Santo is believed to have been were not working the night of his disappearance.

Santo, a student from Grand Valley State University, was visiting friends at MSU on Oct. 29. Multiple police departments -- including Michigan State Police and the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office -- have searched for Santo on foot, with dive teams, by drone, helicopter and boat, but months later they haven’t come up with any answers.

Anyone who has seen Brendan Santo or knows of his whereabouts is asked to contact the Michigan State University Police Department at by phone at 844-99-MSUPD (67873) or by email at


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