BUFFALO, N.Y. — Nearly two weeks after the disappearance of Buffalo State College student Saniyya Dennis, officials announced Thursday they believe the Bronx teen might have taken her own life after a breakup.
“It appears this poor girl took her own life,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said while recounting what were possibly her final hours.
Dennis, 19, was last seen leaving her dorm late at night on April 24. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said Dennis had gotten into an argument with her boyfriend earlier that day that ended with him breaking up with her.
Dennis continued to attempt to contact him, even saying she was going to kill herself, according to Flynn.
Her boyfriend was in New York City the entire time, and is not considered a suspect in her disappearance, officials said.
Later that day, in another conversation with a male friend in New York City, Dennis again said she was planning suicide, authorities said.
That evening, Dennis and her friend stayed on the phone for about four hours. In that conversation, she said she was feeling better and reconsidering her earlier thoughts on suicide.
Around 11 p.m., it is believed Dennis threw personal items into a garbage can. Flynn did not say what those items were, but said that they would make someone believe she wasn’t planning to return to her dorm.
Not long after, the girl’s bus card was swiped on a bus near her dorm. Flynn said it appeared Dennis took two buses and got off at a stop near the Niagara Falls Visitor Center.
Around Midnight, Dennis texted her mother and told her she loves her and that she would call her the next day. She also texted her male friend and said she would not see him this summer.
The last time Dennis was seen on video was around 12:17 a.m., captured by park cameras on the bridge along Goat Island Road.
While there, she received a text from a friend saying to call him or else he would call police. Instead, he called her and they spoke for about 45 minutes, officials said.
In that conversation, Dennis allegedly said she was going to jump off a bridge.
Around 1 a.m., the teen took a Snapchat selfie near the Nikola Tesla monument with Niagara Falls in the background.
About 20 minutes later, she texted a male friend, telling him that she spoke with her mom and was on her way back to Buffalo. However, cellphone records showed that to not be true.
Minutes after that text, her cellphone left the cellular network, meaning it was either powered off or destroyed, according to officials.
Flynn said all of this information had been communicated to Dennis’ parents Wednesday afternoon.
Her father, a former member of the Harlem-based hip-hop group The Diplomats, used his social media presence to get the word out about his daughter’s disappearance.
Desperate for any leads, her dad, also known as rapper 40 Cal, offered a cash reward in a caption of one of his Instagram posts.
Dennis’ parents, multiple agencies and local residents had been involved in a nearly two-week search for the student.
Flynn said the search will continue until she’s found, but there is a chance her body may not be able to be recovered.
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