As the current editor and police reporter here at the Times for the last 18 years, I’ve covered a variety of court cases, deaths, arrests, disappearances and more. I will never forget the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009 when I met the Jawhari family. The frantic Jawhari sisters were desperately trying to find their sister Randa, 42, who had not been heard from since the prior day. They were doing everything they could to get the word out. Randa’s health was failing and she disappeared with no clues from her Fenton apartment. To date, they have not found Randa. I’ve gotten to know the Jawhari family and my heart is broken for them.
Anyone who listens to the news hears reports of missing children and adults on a nearly daily basis. Some cases are tragic, some have happy endings and some remain unsolved. Where did these missing people go? Who did they go with? Did they fall and die from their injuries? Were they murdered? Were they drugged and taken out of state? There’s usually so many questions and few answers.
A recent missing person case has me concerned. I don’t know any of the people involved, however, the disappearance happened from the MSU campus, my beloved alma mater, the night prior to their football game against UM on Oct. 30. Brendan Santo, a freshman at Grand Valley, was last seen on the MSU campus close to midnight on Friday, Oct. 29. He was visiting friends on campus and was last seen leaving Yakeley Hall in the old section of campus.
Brendan’s family and friends have been tirelessly organizing search efforts and raising funds to offer a reward for any information so that they can find him and bring him home. The MSU police are actively investigating his disappearance. Brendan’s car was located and police do not believe Brendan would harm himself. If anyone has information or any tip they are urged to call (844) 99-MSUPD or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friends of the Santo family have created a gofundme page called, “Bring Brendan Santo Home,” seeking donations, leads and just to get the word out that they continue to search for the 18-year-old. So many people are following this case and the gofundme has topped $100,000 in donations. Those helping have posted photos of Brandon all over campus, letters have been sent to sorority and fraternity houses, and the large digital screens at the football stadium and basketball arena have displayed information and photos of Brendan. Again, loved ones are doing everything possible to find Brendan and to get the word out. They are surely exhausted, but that will not stop them.
A group also has started a Facebook page called “Bring Brendan Santo Home, organized by Melissa Corsi.”
If you can, please share this story and check out the Facebook or gofundme pages. Look at the photos of Brendan. Maybe you’ll remember something. If you do, please contact the MSU police at the number listed above.
As tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, it wouldn’t hurt to also add the Santo family to your prayers when you sit down and say grace at dinner with your own family.