NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — People in Western New York are not giving up their search for Saniyya Dennis, the college student who went missing last week.
Saniyya was last seen leaving her dorm on Buffalo State’s campus on April 24, but her cell phone was later pinged near Goat Island in Niagara Falls. That’s where a search party gathered early Wednesday evening in the latest hopes to find the young woman.
Julia Stevens has been searching for Saniyya, “It’s important to show up as a community and show this family that we care, that we will continue to be out here and we won’t stop until we find Saniyya Dennis.”
For nearly two weeks, search parties have combed through Niagara Falls in the hopes of finding Saniyya Dennis.
Courtney Gabamonte has also been helping in the search, she tells us, “being a woman and having a girl missing is just heartbreaking so why not come out and help look if we’re not far from where she might be found?”
They’ve been placing flyers on any available surface and calling for the public’s help.
Ivy Marie Gilbert added, “posting it on Facebook is absolutely helpful and stuff but being local, it’s really helpful to actually get out here and do it.”
The 19-year-old Buff State sophomore was last seen leaving an elevator in her dorm building the night of April 24. Police say her cell phone was later pinged near Goat Island in Niagara Falls, which is why groups have narrowed their search to that area.
“Clothing items, a cell phone was found, a bracelet was found – all of these could be the utmost importance because we have absolutely no information on what happened to Saniyya Dennis,” added Stevens.
University police are continuing to ask anyone with information to come forward, and Saniyya’s family has since offered a $10,000 reward for anything that could help bring her home.
Julia Stevens went on to say, “If Saniyya is out there and she’s watching these efforts, if she’s in danger or incapacitated we would say don’t give up hope, we are leaving no stone unturned. We will be out here every single day for you until we find you because you deserve that.”
In a statement released earlier in the week, Buff State President Katherine Conway-Turner called Saniyya a lovely young woman with a bright future ahead. She also defended the University Police Chief Peter Carey, saying he and his officers have been working tirelessly to locate Saniyya.
Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.