Who is Saniyya Dennis? Buffalo college student, 19, goes missing from bus stop, family offers $10,000 for info
A large number of volunteers searched for Dennis over the weekend at Niagara Falls State Park near Goat Island, but to no avail
BUFFALO, NEW YORK: Police authorities continue their search for a missing New York college student who disappeared more than a week ago. Saniyya Dennis, 19, a student of SUNY Buffalo State College, was last seen on April 24. She was last seen leaving her dorm on the same day around 11 pm, according to the University Police Department.
The college sophomore hailed from The Bronx, New York City. On April 25, her family called Buffalo State Police twice to ask for a welfare check on Dennis as they didn't hear from her all day. A day later, police chief Peter Carey said the investigation began with a welfare check in Dennis's dorm after which the New York State Missing Persons Clearing House opened a case on Dennis. According to the CCTV footage obtained from the college, there was a man with her in the elevator.
On Monday, May 3, it was reported that Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) got hold of another footage. The video was of a bus terminal where Dennis was spotted after she was last seen on campus. A spokesperson for NFTA said the video has been sent to Buffalo State Police because it’s the university’s investigation. Details about this footage have not been revealed yet.
"Our one and only goal in this investigation is to locate Saniyya and reconnect her with her family," UPD Chief Peter Carey said in a statement. "Understandably, emotions are high right now, but I want to be clear that our department will not rest until Saniyya is found." UPD described Dennis as a 5 feet, 3 inches tall Black woman weighing 125 pounds. She has dark brown hair and brown eyes. The investigators initially said that Dennis may have gone to the Western New York area or traveled to Yonkers, just north of The Bronx. There is currently no evidence of foul play, authorities added.
A large number of volunteers searched for Dennis over the weekend at Niagara Falls State Park near Goat Island. This was the same place where police said Dennis's phone last pinged. New York State Police helicopter, as well as a bloodhound and another K-9 tracking dog, were assisting searchers as well. Hotel cameras were checked. It's unclear if anything was seen involving this case. "We combed the whole park, even places where she was nowhere near, putting up flyers," Dennis's father Calvin Byrd said on Saturday, May 1. "The dogs came out yesterday, and today they had the helicopter for the search." Byrd also said that there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to his daughter.
On Friday, April 30, at a news conference, Dennis's family expressed dissatisfaction with the investigation, saying police did not interview the man seen in the elevator with her until they asked the police to question him. "You should have spoken to him first. That's the last person to see my daughter alive. You should have spoken to him first. Did she say anything? Did she do anything? Respectfully, you should have spoken to him first," Saniyya's mom Latisha Dennis said.
"It’s heartbreaking, and I can’t imagine what this family is going through as they search for this child. it must be really hard on them right now," Kayla McCall said. "The awareness is to make up for the urgency that Saniyya didn’t receive when she was initially reported missing, so making people aware there is a missing person that there is somebody in distress or medical attention is extremely important in this case," said Julia Stevens, a community activist.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Buffalo State Police at (716) 878-6333.