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Continued search for missing Buffalo State student Saniyya Dennis

Dennis was last seen leaving her residence hall on campus on Saturday, April 24.
Credit: wgrz

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — On Wednesday community members continued to search for Dennis, a 19-year-old Buffalo State College student. She was last seen leaving her residence hall on Saturday, April 24.

The search was focused around Goat Island in Niagara Falls. Investigators have said that's where Dennis' phone was last pinged.

Julia Stevens with Allies for Black Justice has been leading the community effort, organizing searches over the last several days. 

"It's important to show up as a community and show this family that we care, that we're going to continue to be out here, and we're not going to stop until we find Saniyya Dennis," Stevens said. 

The searches have drawn people from different organizations and from different communities.

"Being a woman and having a girl missing is just heartbreaking, so why not come out if we're not that far from where she might be found?" Courtney Gabamonte of Lancaster said.

There have also been several questions over footage of Dennis at the NFTA bus terminal downtown from the night she went missing that has yet to be released. 

A spokesperson with the NFTA released the following statement on the matter:

"First and foremost, the NFTA shares the community’s concern for the health and well-being of Saniyya Dennis. Our detectives worked diligently to recover requested video for the lead agency in this case, and provided that evidence to authorities as soon as it was discovered.

There is an ongoing law enforcement investigation being conducted by Buffalo State’s University Police Department, the Erie County District Attorney’s office, and other departments.  We are fully cooperating with that investigation.  Law enforcement has determined that the disclosure of bus video evidence at this time would interfere with this ongoing investigation."

When asked what keeps her hopeful throughout this process, Stevens told 2 On Your Side, "I guess the fact that Saniyya's family has not given up hope. At no point in time have they given up or decided that we should end searches, and if they are continuing to be out here searching for their daughter every day, we will continue to show up behind them and support them." 

Buffalo State College Police are leading the investigation, now alongside the Erie County District Attorney's office. 

Members of the Dennis family have expressed frustration with the progress of the investigation thus far, telling members of the media that more should've been done to find Saniyya.