Search for girl ongoing

By Gray Hughes

Pennington County Sheriff's Office Submitted Image

The search for Serenity Dennard continues.

The 9-year-old went missing at the Black Hills Children’s Home Feb. 3.

Dennard is described as being 4’7”, 96 pounds with dark blonde hair and blue eyes.

She was last seen wearing a long-sleeved gray shirt with flowers, blue jeans and black snow boots.

Kevin Thom, Pennington County sheriff, said the department often get asked for updates, so its goal is to put out additional information every week to 10 days.

“We don’t have a lot to report in terms of any significant updates other than we continue with what I call our two tracks,” Thom said Friday. “One is the investigative track. The other, of course, is the search track, or the recovery track at this point, if that is what it turns out to be.”

As of Friday, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office has interviewed 256 individuals and continue to follow up on leads. There have also been 57 leads come in from both in state and out of state individuals However, Thom said those leads have yet to yield fruit.

“We did get some additional exposure with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and then the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, so that is out there,” Thom said. “In terms of the search/recovery, the weather has hampered that. It has been an unusual year in terms of weather.”

The FBI assisted the sheriff’s office two weeks ago with reviewing the case. The FBI has offered technical assistance on “one aspect of the investigation,” Thom said, and has been utilizing some of its resources when it comes to reviewing the file, leads, and offering suggestions.

Behind the scenes, Thom added, the sheriff’s office continues to plan and prepare for when the weather does break, and will do an extensive search similar to what was undertaken when Dennard first went missing, using K-9 units and ground searchers.

However, most of the snow to needs to be gone in order for them to do that, Thom said.

“Typically, this time of year we could be out searching, but the weather has not been conducive to that,” he said. “Once most, if not all, of the snow is gone we will then have a search organized.”

Thom said he could not comment specifically on the family other than that the sheriff’s office has been in constant contact with them.

“When we do go to do updates through the media, we let the family know first so that they are not surprised when they turn on the TV,” Thom said. “We try to be diligent about staying in contact with the family.”

The Black Hills Children’s Society has been “excellent” to work with throughout the search, Thom said. There have been no intentionally misleading leads or false information during the search, Thom said.

“We think people are well-intended when they do have information that they think is relevant that turns out not to be,” he said. “If you have information, and you think we need to know it, you should tell us. They can contact the sheriff’s office by calling (the sheriff’s office) or they can reach us through social media.”


  1. I live on Long Island, New York, and have posted on my Facebook page about Serenity Dennard who has been missing since the beginning of February. My prayers and thoughts that they find Serenity.