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Search for Buffalo State College student Saniyya Dennis makes national headlines

Posted at 11:17 AM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 17:20:39-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The search for a missing Buffalo State College student is now in the national spotlight. The circumstances surrounding the disappearance of 19-year-old Saniyya Dennis, made headlines this morning on Good Morning America.

She hasn't been seen since last Saturday night, at her residence hall on Buffalo State's campus.

Nine days later there is no sign of Dennis.

"We want to make sure we have people coming out there and showing up," said Julia Stevens. Stevens is part of the group called Allies for Black Justice. They were part of the weekend search efforts in Niagara Falls.

Stevens says people on foot patrol in Niagara Falls State Park found a black shirt, near Luna Island.

Niagara Falls State Park was the last place Dennis' cell phone was pinged.

"That's where they suspect that her last Snapchat photo was taken," Stevens said. "We had gone down that area every single day and just yesterday, that's when we found this shirt. Again, not ruling anything out."

The Snapchat photo appears to have been taken near the Nikola Tesla statue on Goat Island.

At this point, there is no video showing Saniyya in Niagara Falls. There is, however, a picture of her in an elevator on the Buffalo State College campus.

There is also video of the 19-year-old from the NFTA. What that video shows is unclear. It is also unclear where that video came from.

The Buffalo State College police chief was questioned about the video on Friday, after making the bombshell announcement at the end of an emotionally charged hour-long update.

"It's from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority," said Chief Peter Carey. "I'm going to confirm that and discuss with the family first."

There has been no update since.

Saniyya's mother did not want to speak with 7 Eyewitness News, Monday.

Stevens says crews are doing all they can to help find Saniyya.

"We cannot rule out any possibility and people seeing her face-- people being able to recognize her immediately, is going to be what's most important if she is somewhere in distress," said Stevens.

Buffalo State released a recent statement saying this investigation remains an "active missing persons case." You can read the full statement here.

Police urge anyone with information about Saniyya's whereabouts call 716-878-6333 or email police at You can also call the New York State Missing Person's Clearing House at 800-346-3543.