12:58 PM PDT, May 6, 2021
Missing college student Saniyya Dennis, 19, likely died of suicide, authorities said Thursday morning. “It appears that this poor girl took her own life,” the Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn told reporters.
This comes after a high-profile search for the Buffalo State College sophomore, who was last seen leaving her dorm room Saturday April 24.
Evidence now shows that Dennis had been in an argument with her boyfriend earlier that day that ended with her threatening to kill herself, authorities said.
“They were calling and texting one another over a period of half an hour,” Flynn said. “They get into an argument and at the end of that conversation he breaks up with her.”
Dennis made several other calls throughout the day, including at least 59 calls to her boyfriend within an hour that went unanswered, a call to her mom and a 4-hour call with another friend, who apparently tries to console her.
Her boyfriend lives in the New York City area, and had been there the whole time, which is why authorities ruled him out as a suspect, Flynn said.
Dennis was seen on elevator cameras and dorm surveillance footage leaving her dorm around 11 p.m. that Saturday. Flynn said she threw away personal items “that would lead someone to believe that she was not returning to the dorm” in a trash can on campus.
Authorities have now determined that she boarded a bus shortly after on her own, headed toward Niagara Falls, getting off at a stop near the Niagara Falls Visitor Center.
She sent text messages around midnight, including one to her mom letting her know she loved her, and another to the friend she had spoken with earlier, saying, “I’m really glad we talked today. I’ll forever treasure it. But I’m sorry I lied. I will not be joining you this summer. At least physically. Thank you for making my day special.”
She spoke to that friend on the phone for 45 minutes, and told him she would jump off the bridge in that conversation.
She posted a selfie on Snapchat with Niagara Falls in the background, around 1 a.m. and texted a friend she was heading back to Buffalo shortly after.
However, cellphone records showed she did not leave the area, and her phone last pinged minutes after that, indicating she either turned her phone off or destroyed it.
Authorities are still looking for her by helicopter and drone “and we’re going to continue to go up … until she’s found,” Flynn said. They also have search and rescue dogs who had traced her scent to a body of water.
Dennis is the daughter of rapper 40 Cal, who posted to Instagram about his missing daughter just before weekend.
“My daughter Saniyya is missing out of Buffalo State College,” he wrote. “Anyone with any helpful info hit my dm , any other matters respectfully don’t contact me!, $10,000 for any info that connect.”
Dennis, who is originally from the Bronx, is studying engineering and is an honor student at the university, according to Complex.