After a search of more than 80 days, authorities have recovered a body believed to be that of missing Grand Valley State University student Brendan Santo.
The body was recovered from the Red Cedar River at 12:30 p.m. Friday, approximately 1 1/2 miles downriver from where Santo was last seen. Identification is still pending, according to Michigan State University police.
The 18-year-old college student vanished Oct. 29, 2021, while visiting friends in East Lansing, Michigan, the weekend of the Michigan-Michigan State football game. Multiple agencies, along with family and a growing number of volunteer civilians, have been searching for the teen ever since, with a reward growing to over $30,000.
"Thank you so much for all your support and kindness to bring Brendan home. This is not the outcome we had hoped but we do have closure now," Brendan's family posted online.
"We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Santo family and all those who knew Brendan," Michigan State University Police Department spokesperson Chris Rozman said in a statement.
Authorities will continue to investigate the circumstances and details surrounding this incident, Rozman told reporters in a press conference.
"We still have no reason to believe that foul play is involved, or that Brendon intended to harm himself," he said.
A significant log jam in the area made the portion of the river a point of interest. According to Rozman, the area was very complex and dangerous to search and required a lot of resources.
Divers came from all over the state of Michigan to assist. The operation required teams to clear brush and trees to create a point to get a boat into the river, and access the area of the log jam where they wanted to focus.
None of Brendan's personal items had been recovered before Friday, according to Michigan State University police.
"We have been committed from the very beginning to resolving this case, and I'm glad that we could at least bring some resolution today to the family and Brendan's loved ones," Rozman stated.