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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Update: Body of missing Tecumseh teen found; counselors available at THS

  • The search for a missing Tecumseh High School student ended tragically Wednesday when his body was discovered about a mile from his home. Extra counselors were on hand at Tecumseh High School as the school family gathered and mourned the loss.
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  • The search for a missing Tecumseh High School student ended tragically Wednesday when his body was discovered about a mile from his home. Extra counselors were on hand at Tecumseh High School as the school family gathered and mourned the loss.
    Tecumseh Assistant Police Chief J.R. Kidney said police had been searching since Tuesday night for Brandon Roy Santino, 15, a sophomore at THS.
    His body was found following a massive search. Kidney said Santino was the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, with police having no explanation why this happened.
    "He was a good kid with good grades," Kidney said.
    The family's last contact with Santino appeared to be through a text message he sent them about 7 p.m. Tuesday to check the score as the family was at his sister's basketball game, Kidney said.
    But when the family returned home about 9 p.m., Santino wasn't there and a 9 mm pistol was missing from the home, Kidney said.
    "They were telling us he was a good kid and wouldn't run away," Kidney said, prompting a search that included police calling in tracking dogs from other agencies to assist, with that initial search lasting until after midnight. Kidney said almost 50 friends and family members continued to search overnight.
    At daybreak Wednesday, Kidney said police resumed the search with at least 100 searching for the missing teen. That search led to the discovery of Santino's body in an area about a mile from his home on Old Santa Fe Lake Road, Kidney said, about 800 yards from the roadway.
    While it appears his death was the result of the self-inflicted gunshot wound, Kidney said the state medical examiner will perform an autopsy to officially rule on the cause of death.
    With the search ending tragically, officials at Tecumseh High School called an assembly Wednesday, Superintendent Tom Wilsie said, so school officials could inform the student body and they could grieve as a group and school family.
    "Our hearts and prayers go out to the Santino family for what they're going through" Wilsie stated, adding they're not alone. "The community and school need to be there for them."
    And with friends and classmates feeling the loss, Wilsie said Wednesday was a tough day for students and faculty. He said extra school district counselors, along with volunteers from the area, were there to assist students and teachers.
    "We're appreciative of the help," Wilsie said, adding many local ministers, pastors and others provided a good show of support for those at the school.
    Wilsie, who listened to many as they remembered Santino, said, "everyone thought highly of him."
    Santino was a well-known member of the Tecumseh cross country team and also a part of FFA.
    Page 2 of 2 - Kidney said police are still investigating why the student might have taken his own life.
    While there was much speculation and rumors circulating Wednesday on social media, Kidney said the Tecumseh school resource officers were continuing to investigate by interviewing students at the school and checking for any possibility that the student's death could be the result of bullying.
    Kidney said by all indications, there's been no clear explanation as to why this tragedy happened and many are looking for answers.
    Wilsie, who said the school has no knowledge of anything involving bullying, said they wouldn't want to ignore anything that might be there.
    Information about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline was posted on the THS website Wednesday. That Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Information about suicide, along with an online chat option, is also available at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
    The investigation by police is ongoing, Kidney said. Anyone with information that could help is asked to contact Tecumseh police at 598-3755.
    A candlelight vigil in memory of Santino was scheduled Wednesday evening in Tecumseh.
    There's been no word yet when funeral services for the teen might be scheduled.
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