Brendan Santo's cause of death ruled accidental drowning months after teen disappeared at MSU

Brendan Santo died from an accidental drowning, according to the autopsy report.

The 18-year-old from Rochester Hills disappeared the weekend of Halloween 2021 after leaving a dorm at Michigan State University. 

More: Where was Brendan Santo's body found?

The autopsy listed acute ethanol intoxication, or drinking too much alcohol in a short amount of time, as a contributing factor. His blood-alcohol level listed on the autopsy was 0.22. No other intoxicating substances were found.

Santo, who was a student at Grand Valley State University, was last seen leaving Yakeley Hall on Oct. 29, the night before the Michigan and Michigan State football game in East Lansing. He texted friends to tell them on his way to meet them.

His phone was last pinged near Michigan Avenue and Beal Street shortly before midnight.

Brendan Santo, 18, was last seen near Michigan State University on Oct. 29, 2021. Police said a body found in the Red Cedar River is believed to be the missing Rochester Hills teenager.

After months of searching, Santo's body was found in the Red Cedar River on Jan. 21.

Ryan Robinson, a private investigator who had been working with teen's family, was reviewing underwater video at a logjam when he saw something completely submerged in the water. 

He notified Santo's family and police, who blocked off the area within an hour. Dive teams recovered the body at dawn. The body was discovered about 1 ½ miles from where Santo was last seen.

MSU police said the area had been "of significant interest for law enforcement, search teams, and the Santo family."

Santos was a 2021 graduate of Adams High School, where he played lacrosse and hockey.

A GoFundMe page dedicated to rescue efforts raised more than $150,000. The Santo family donated some of the money to Oxford High School for a therapy dog after the tragic Nov. 30 mass shooting.