Saniyya Dennis, 19, was last seen leaving her SUNY Buffalo State College dorm at 11 p.m. on April 24, according to police

By Gabrielle Chung
May 06, 2021 05:43 PM
Advertisement
Saniyya Dennis
Saniyya Dennis
| Credit: SUNY Buffalo State College

Saniyya Dennis, the 19-year-old SUNY Buffalo State College who went missing last month, died by apparent suicide, according to officials.

"An exhaustive search and review of the evidence has been done and it appears that this poor girl took her own life," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said during a new conference on Thursday morning.

Though Dennis' body has not been found, it's presumed that she died by suicide based on the timeline authorities complied in their investigation into her disappearance, Flynn said.

Dennis was last seen leaving her SUNY Buffalo State College dorm on April 24.

According to Flynn, Dennis had got into an argument with her boyfriend over the phone that day, which ended up their breakup. Dennis then tried calling him 59 times before texting him that she was going to kill herself, Flynn said.

Dennis had also reached out to another male friend after the breakup, according to Flynn, and spoke about some of her recent mental health issues during a four-hour phone call.

Almost an hour after the call, Flynn said Dennis left her dorm and threw some "personal items" into a campus trash can. While he did not specify what Dennis threw away, Flynn told reporters that the items "would lead someone to believe that she was not returning to her dorm."

Dennis then took several buses to Niagara Falls State Park, where her phone was last pinged near the Nikola Telsa Monument on Goat Island, Flynn said. Her phone left the cellular network around 1:23 a.m. on April 25, according to Flynn, which meant "it was either powered off or destroyed."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

During the investigation, scent dogs were sent to Niagara Falls State Park to find Dennis, but the animals lost her scent near Goat Island, Flynn said.

"Looking at Niagara Falls, it's just filled with rocks," he said. "There is a possibility that if we believe what happened happened, we may never find her body. That's a possibility. She may be caught in the jagged rocks there."

In a statement, Flynn said authorities have "found no evidence of any criminality" in Dennis' case, but "the investigation into her disappearance will not be closed until she is found."

Flynn added, "My thoughts and prayers remain with Saniyya's family and friends during this difficult time."

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.