Serenity Dennard: Search for little girl who ran away from children’s home is now a ‘recovery mission;’ police say unlikely she’s still alive

Police said the search for a missing 9-year-old South Dakota girl has transitioned to a recovery mission as it’s unlikely she would’ve survived this long in freezing temperatures.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office released a statement late Tuesday, announcing that they’ve ended rescue efforts for Serenity Dennard. Dennard was last seen Sunday morning when she reportedly fled the Children’s Home Society in Rapid City and ran into some nearby woods.

Initially, police said they were concerned for the 9-year-old’s well-being due to the light clothes she was wearing coupled with freezing temperatures.

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“We have not ruled out the possibility that she found some place warm to shelter or that someone picked her up. We still have an active investigation and will follow up on all leads,” law enforcement said.

Search for missing nine year old transitions into recovery effort Pennington County, SD – The Pennington County…

Posted by Pennington County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, February 5, 2019


According to the Rapid City Journal, Children’s Home Society executive director Bill Colson said two staff members were watching Serenity Dennard and three other children as they played in the facility’s gym when one of the children ran away. Colson said one staff member went after them, leading Dennard to take off herself.

The second employee reportedly didn’t pursue Dennard as they were watching the two remaining children. Instead, they are said to have called for other staff to help.

Police determined that Dennard was last seen walking northbound on South Rockerville Road near Black Hills Children’s Home.

According to their website, the Children’s Home Society of South Dakota provides emergency shelter and support for child abuse victims. Colson said he couldn’t disclose why Dennard was at the home due to privacy concerns.

According to the Jamestown Sun, local police said crews from 30 local, state, and federal agencies “scoured the area” for Dennard using thermal imaging devices. Before the search changed to a recovery mission, more than 100 people and dogs were searching the within a one-mile radius of the Children’s Home.

“In the last three days, more than 200 personnel and six canines have been assigned to the search of Serenity,” they said in the statement. “Searchers have used hand-held thermal imaging devices, distributed flyers, canvassed all neighbors and interviewed more than 60 people to try to find Serenity. ”

#FindSerenity Emergency #Missing #BlackHills Girl! Please Re-Post, Print & Distribute! Serenity June Dennard, age 9, was…

Posted by Locate The Missing on Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Authorities described Dennard as being 4-feet-7-inches tall, weighing 90 pounds, and having shoulder-length dirty blonde hair. She was last seen wearing a long-sleeved grey shirt with flowers, blue jeans, and snow boots.

Anyone with information regarding Serenity Dennard’s whereabouts is urged to call the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office at 605-394-6115.

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[Featured Image: Serenity Dennard/Pennington County Sheriff’s Office]