BREAKING: Missing Buffalo State student Saniyya Dennis died of suicide, D.A. says

Updated: 11: 59 a.m. Thursday

Authorities in New York believe that a missing Buffalo State University sophomore took her own life, but investigators have not found Saniyya Dennis’ body.

As NBC News reports, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told reporters during a news conference Thursday morning that he believes Dennis, 19, died of suicide.

“It appears that this poor girl took her own life,” Flynn reportedly said.

The D.A. said at the news conference that Dennis disposed of “personal items that would lead someone to believe that she was not returning to the dorm.” He also said that she had spoken of taking her own life to a recent ex-boyfriend and a male friend, though the friend reportedly believed he had talked her out of it.

READ MORE: Missing Saniyya Dennis seen on surveillance video in Niagara Falls, father says in plea for more footage

The sophomore, originally from The Bronx, was seen on security video leaving her dorm room around 11 p.m. April 24. Dennis later texted her mother and promised to call the next day. Her cell phone last pinged at 1:23 a.m. on Goat Island in Niagara Falls, about 20 miles from the Buffalo campus.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Dennis was seen at a bus station in downtown Buffalo after leaving her dorm, though the Niagara Falls Transportation Authority and Buffalo State Police have not released any images or footage from that location.

According to the NBC News report, authorities do not suspect foul play. It is unclear if or where investigators are working on a recovery effort, though the District Attorney said the investigation would continue until Dennis’s body is found.

Below is the full statement from District Attorney John Flynn:

“Yesterday afternoon, members of my office met with the family of Saniyya Dennis to provide an update on the investigation into her disappearance. At this time, we believe that Saniyya traveled alone from the Buffalo State College campus by NFTA bus to Niagara Falls State Park where the evidence suggests that she took her own life during the early morning hours of Sunday, April 25, 2021. 

While the Erie County District Attorney’s Office does not typically become involved in missing person cases unless there is evidence of criminality, we assisted in this multi-agency effort to find Saniyya at the request of SUNY Buffalo State College University Police. My office and our partners in law enforcement have found no evidence of any criminality in this case. All evidence indicates that Saniyya ended her own life, but the investigation into her disappearance will not be closed until she is found.

My thoughts and prayers remain with Saniyya’s family and friends during this difficult time.

Thank you to all who have assisted in the search to find Saniyya. I commend SUNY Buffalo State College, Buffalo State College University Police, New York State Park Police, Niagara Frontier Transit Authority Police, New York State Police, Mayor Byron Brown, Buffalo Police Department, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, Niagara Regional Police, New York Police Department, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies who have dedicated their time and resources to this ongoing investigation.

I also want to thank the Buffalo State community, members of the media, and residents from Western New York and beyond who have participated in the search and shared information about her case.”

This is a developing story and all information is preliminary. CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.

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