Brendan Santo’s family calls for fencing and better security on the Red Cedar River

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EAST LANSING, MI — After nearly three months, the body of Brendan Santo was found on Friday January 21 in the Red Cedar River.

Although his family has shut down, there’s one more thing they want Michigan State University to do: increase safety on the Red Cedar River.

Family circulate a petition install fencing in areas where the river crosses the campus, as well as other security measures. It is approaching 12,000 signatures on Monday morning January 24.

“Brendan’s tragedy should never have happened and it should never happen to another person,” Dawn Brewer, Santo’s aunt, wrote in an email.

Santo, an 18-year-old Grand Valley University student, was last seen leaving Yakeley Hall on the MSU campus shortly before midnight on Friday, October 29. He was on his way to meet friends when he disappeared, the petition states.

Read more: Body found in Red Cedar River confirmed to be Brendan Santo, police say

His body was found after private investigator Ryan Robison informed police shortly after midnight on January 21 that he had detected something on his camera that he suspected was Santo’s body. Michigan State University Police Inspector Chris Rozman confirmed Jan. 22 that the medical examiner had positively identified the body as Santo based on dental records.

Investigators do not suspect foul play or self-harm as the reason for Santo’s disappearance, MSU police said. The investigation is still open.

There are several safety measures MSU could take to protect students, the petition states. These include danger signs near steep drop-offs in the river, campus fencing and barriers near openings to the river, and better lighting.

“Let’s make MSU a safer place in memory of our beloved Brendan Santo,” the petition reads.

This is the latest Santo-related petition to raise awareness of his disappearance. A separate petition was created a week ago urging East Lansing Mayor Ron Bacon to dam the river to make it safer for divers to avoid debris and search the area.

“The world has lost a wonderful, caring human being who was destined for great things and who was going to make this world a better place,” Brewer wrote. “The least we can do as a company is carry on for Brendan and make this world a better place.”

Grand Valley State University students can contact the University Counseling Center at 616-331-3266. Bereavement counseling is also available to MSU students on campus, police said. MSU’s counseling and psychiatry service is available 24/7 by calling 517-355-8270. MSU’s Employee Assistance Program is available by calling 517-355-4506.

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