New details emerge in search for Serenity Dennard

RAPID CITY S.D. — Over the past few months, there’s been a lot of confusion surrounding the disappearance of Serenity Dennard.

On Monday, investigators and search crews turned up new information to clear up misunderstandings. Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said dog teams involved in the search for Serenity are picking up a human scent in Rockerville. But with winter weather in the immediate forecast, Thom said the odds are against them finding the nine-year-old until the weather improves.

Serenity walked away from the Children’s Home Society on Sunday, Feb. 3. The couple who was chopping wood who believed they saw her, actually saw a staff member from the Children’s Home who was out searching. They did not actually see Serenity.

Sheriff Thom says two people who don’t work for the Children’s Home saw Serenity while they were in the parking lot. As far as investigators know, they are the last people to have seen her. The people in the parking lot tell investigators that Serenity crossed the cattle guard and headed north on South Rockerville Road.

After telling staff she was missing, they left the facility.

“Those two witnesses drove back out onto South Rockerville road, and didn’t see Serenity,” Thom said. “In that three to five minute window, she was no longer on the road. Where she went from there is what we’re trying to ascertain.”

Rescue crews are focusing their efforts on the area around the Children’s Home, and Teepee Gulch Road. Thom says the search continues because of the progress made by the dogs.

“They did have cadaver scent in the area from multiple teams, not every dog team, but multiple dog teams, have identified there is cadaver scent in the area,” Sheriff Thom said. “That is what has been driving where and how we’ve been searching.”

That area is split into several sections. This map shows their search. The green lines are the dog teams, and the red lines are human teams. The black circles are areas of interest.

But Sheriff Thom says still, the weather is uncooperative.

“When it comes to a cadaver dog, you need decomposition to happen, so there’s scent in the air. Cold weather and rain suppresses that so it makes it more difficult.”

And behind the scenes, investigators continue to follow all leads through social media, in the community, and across the country.


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