Buffalo State Police are continuing their search for a missing college student who has not been seen for 10 days.
Saniyya Dennis, a 19-year-old Bronx native and sophomore at SUNY Buffalo State College, was last seen on Saturday, April 24, when she was spotted leaving her dorm at Bishop Hall and walking away from campus.
“Our one and only goal in this investigation is to locate Saniyya and reconnect her with her family. Understandably, emotions are high right now, but I want to be clear that our department will not rest until Saniyya is found,” University Police Chief Peter Carey said in a statement.
University police are working in conjunction with local, state and federal authorities as the search continues. Authorities have said there is no evidence of foul play and the case is currently being treated as a missing person investigation and not as a criminal investigation.
“She’s more of a home body, and if she was to go out, it was a big event going on, she would be happy to share it. She often shared things with me that she was doing, so I have no idea where she was going,” Latisha Dennis, mother of the missing teen told WGRZ. “It was reported that she hadn’t shown up to work, and she didn’t show up to class, and she’s not like that. She’s very studious.”
A spokesperson for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority said video footage of Dennis at a downtown bus terminal, presumably from a time after she was last spotted on campus, has been sent to university police. The footage has not been made public. University president Katherine Conway-Turner said certain aspects of the case cannot be disclosed to protect the integrity of the investigation.
A ping of the student’s phone indicated that it was in Goat Island in Niagara Falls, where daily search efforts for Dennis continue. New York State Park Police say numerous searches have turned up nothing.
Family of Dennis as well as community members have expressed frustration that the police response was neither urgent nor adequate. Police said the ground search was not large because they didn’t receive information indicating that Dennis would hurt herself or others. A K-9 search wasn’t conducted until the Friday after the teen’s Saturday disappearance.
Her father, Calvin Byrd, former Dipset rapper 40 Cal, called the situation a “nightmare.”
Criticism was also levied against Mayor Byron Brown. However, Brown expressed to a local news outlet that he’s since met with the family and offered his service as well as that of the police department. “It was a good meeting with the parents, but obviously they are deeply concerned with the whereabouts of their daughter, and the parents are here in town from New York City to do every single thing that they can to aid in the investigation,” said Mayor Brown.
“We combed the whole park, even places where she was nowhere near, putting up flyers,” Byrd said. “The dogs came out yesterday, and today they had the helicopter for the search… We’re not going to give up.”
On Instagram, Byrd posted about the search efforts and asked anyone with information to come forward.
Buffalo State Alumnus @LandoSoReal shared on social media that Dennis was last seen wearing a black hoodie, a black skullcap, a small black backpack and white checkered vans and a face mask.
A woman who said Dennis is her cousin also shared on Facebook about search parties for the missing teen.
“Please please I know there is someone who saw something if you would like to remain anonymous it’s perfectly fine just let it be honest there’s a 10,000 reward to lead us to her whereabouts,” one post said.
Her family is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to her discovery. Dennis, a Black woman, is five feet three inches tall and weighs approximately 125 pounds. Anyone with information should call Buffalo State Police at (716) 878-6333.