Citizen volunteers search for Serenity Dennard

ROCKERVILLE, S.D. — Seven weeks ago, 9-year-old Serenity Dennard went missing from the Children’s Home Society in Rockerville.

On Sunday without the help of law enforcement, a group of people set off to find her themselves. The overall search effort has been one of the largest in state history, involving over 350 first responders from countless agencies.

As the dangerous winter weather continued, search teams called off their search until it warmed up. Now that the weather is warmer and the snow has melted, a new type of search team took the matters into their own hands.

On Sunday, around 75 people, many who say they’re familiar with the area, set off to find Serenity on their own. Lynne DiSanto organized the effort on social media.

“I think Serenity’s story speaks to people on a number of levels, we look into her eyes and we see our own children,” DiSanto said. “I think so many of us as parents, grandmothers, look a her and say this could be my child this could be my grandchild.”

The citizen search teams split up and combed the woods around the Children’s Home Society. Coming from all walks of life, the volunteers say their diversity is an asset.

“We have a forestry technician on the team, we have first aid on the team, we have former search and rescue, we have FEMA,” said Levi Kessler, a volunteer in the search effort. “There’s all these specialties that come together.”

In the end, the citizen search team was unable to find her. But with the warmer weather the sheriff’s office will continue the search for Serenity next weekend.

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Categories: Local News, South Dakota News