WORKING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AND FAMILIES OF THE MISSING

Serenity Dennard

Endangered ChildCold Case
Updated
Serenity Dennard Latest Age Progressed Photo from NCME
Serenity Dennard

Missing Persons Details

Missing Children

Serenity Dennard

Missing from
Rockerville, South Dakota - USA
Nationality
  American
Case Entered
  June 11, 2021
Status
   Cold Case
Current Classification
  Endangered Child
Source of Record
  Media
Last Updated
   November 29, 2023
Verification Status
Yes

Physical Description

Gender
   Female
Age When Reported Missing
   9
Age As of Today
  14
Race
  Caucasian/White
Hair Color
  Light Brown
Eye Color
  Blue
Height
  4'7"
Weight
  90lbs
  Last Seen Wearing
Serenity Dennard was last seen wearing a long-sleeved gray shirt, blue jeans, and black snow boots.
  Distinct Features
  Medical Alert
Open source information reports a likelihood of emotional and behavioral disturbances due to 12-13 (foster type homes in a two year period) among other circumstances and factors.  

Details of Disappearance

Serenity Dennard was last seen by family or friends on February 03, 2019.

May 12th 2023, marks the 14th birthday of Serenity Dennard, whose sudden disappearance from the Black Hills Children's Home in February 2019 left countless questions waiting to be answered. 

More than four years after her vanishing, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Pennington County Sheriff's Office have released new age-progressed images of Dennard in the hopes it will generate new leads in the investigation. Pennington County Sheriff Brian Mueller called the photo "another investigative tool" in the open and active investigation.

"We’re all watching Serenity grow up before our eyes through these images and it’s surreal,” said Angeline Hartmann, communications director at NCMEC. “At NCMEC, we know that our age progression images can be a catalyst in a missing child investigation, and we're hoping this will somehow generate fresh leads."

Dennard, then nine-years-old, ran away from the Children's Home in Rockerville around 10:45 a.m. Sunday, February 3, while playing inside the facility's gym. Dennard and three other children were being supervised by two staff members when one of the other children ran off inside the building. As a staffer ran after that child, Dennard ran outside. The remaining staff member called for help but decided to remain with the two other children rather than go after Dennard.

BHCH staff called 911 at 12:26 p.m. after searching the grounds. The delay prompted separate investigations by the Department of Social Services and Department of Health. Both reports said law enforcement should've been called as soon as staff lost sight of Dennard, with one report citing interviews with staffers who said the initial search was "disorganized." 

Dennard was last seen by a woman dropping off a relative at the Children's Home, according to the sheriff's office at the time.

Chad and Kasandra Dennard, Serenity's primary parents at the time of the disappearance, previously told the Journal she had behavioral health problems stemming from the trauma of being removed from her biological parents and living with multiple foster families. They said they enrolled Serenity with the inpatient program at the Children's Home because years of outpatient therapy wasn't working well enough, and felt she was a risk to herself and others.

Weather at the time hampered the search. Cold weather and snowfall in the days following her disappearance led to intermittent pauses in the search effort and limited aerial searches. Hundreds of searchers walked miles in the harsh terrain around Rockerville and used dogs and planes when possible. Law enforcement said at the time they believed she would not have survived past Tuesday night if she'd been in the woods.

The search for Serenity Dennard was formally suspended in January 2021, nearly two years after she was last seen. The last physical search took place Jan. 13 of that year, according to then-Sheriff Kevin Thom. A release from the Pennington County Sheriff's Office stated, “Absent new information, the search for Serenity Dennard is being suspended. The investigation will remain open, and we encourage the public to report any new information or tips. Our collective thoughts and prayers remain with Serenity Dennard’s family.” Thom said at the time there was no evidence Serenity was abducted, and that the "highest probability" is that she was in the woods and simply unable to be located.

The search for Serenity Dennard garnered nationwide media attention, and the PCSO investigated more than 150 leads across 15 states. In Jan. 2021 when the search was formally suspended, Thom told the Journal it had included multiple searches of the Children's Home, nearly 1,600 personnel across 66 agencies, 220 K-9 searches, and more than 6,000 miles searched. More than 530 people had been interviewed, six search warrants were executed, and Dennard's family had been investigated.

At the time of her disappearance, Serenity Dennard was four-foot-seven-inches and weighed 96 lbs.

Source of the above update: https://rapidcityjournal.com/community/shed-be-14-authorities-release-new-age-progressed-images-of-serenity-dennard/article_14a1d41c-f0d8-11ed-89b2-1bcc52af4999.html

Who to contact!
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Serenity Dennard, you are encouraged to contact the Pennington County Sheriff's Office at 605-394-6113, ask for Jamin Hartland, Detective. Be sure to have the case number 19-100887 available as you will need it.

Additional Case Numbers

NCMEC
1349395

Be Advised

If you see Serenity Dennard anywhere, please do not make contact. Call your local emergency number like (911) or the phone number indicated for law enforcement on this record and they will instruct you on what to do. You can also let them know Serenity Dennard's name and that they are profiled on this site. This way they can visit the profile and get information faster for follow up. You can always leave us a tip on what you saw by clicking the "Tip" link in the menu at the top of this page.

NOTICE: If the information contained in this missing persons profile is inaccurate, needs to be updated, or the person has been located, please let our staff know as soon as possible. Thank you.

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