DA Claims Saniyya Dennis May Have Committed Suicide
“At this time, we believe that Saniyya traveled alone from the Buffalo State College campus by NFTA bus to Niagara Falls State Park where the evidence suggests that she took her own life during the early morning hours of Sunday, April 25, 2021,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said in a statement
“All evidence indicates that Saniyya ended her own life, but the investigation into her disappearance will not be closed until she is found,” Flynn said.
Although authorities have not found the 19-year-old’s body, they were able to track the timeline leading up to her disappearance.
CBS News reports Dennis got into an argument with her boyfriend over the phone on April 24. The DA said after trying to contact her boyfriend multiple times and could not reach him, she called another male friend and talked about killing herself.
According to CBS News, Flynn said Dennis was last seen throwing away “personal items that would lead someone to believe that she was not returning to the dorm.” It was unclear what the personal items were.
Flynn stated video from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority showed Dennis took a bus to Niagara Falls State Park by herself and she was last seen on video spotted by park cameras along a trail at 12:17 a.m. on April 25.
At 12:19 a.m., the male friend called her and they spoke for 45 minutes, Flynn said. Around 1:20 a.m, Dennis text messaged the same male friend and said she had talked to her mother and was on her way back to Buffalo Several minutes later, her phone left her cellular network, according to CBS News.
CBS News reported dogs searching the area in Niagara Falls State Park lost Dennis’ scent near the water’s edge.
“Looking at Niagara Falls, the area is just filled with rocks,” Flynn said. “If what I believe happened, happened, we may never find the body. She may be caught in the jagged rocks there.”
“During a news conference last Friday, Dennis’ family members said it was uncharacteristic of her to suddenly disappear.
“My daughter is a Black honor roll student at the college and has no tendency of doing nothing,” said Calvin Byrd, Dennis’ father. “We’re all baffled as to what’s going on.”
Keyora, Dennis’ sister, said this was “not of her nature.”
“Saniyya worked two jobs. She was a mechanical engineer major. She was very focused on her studies,” her sister said. “She was a good friend. A good person. She has a good heart.”
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said the search for Dennis will continue.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.