This month marks the one year anniversary of the disappearance of 9-year-old, Serenity Dennard.
She was reported to have walked away from the Children’s Home Society in the Black Hills one year ago – and has not been found. However, searches continue and leads come in every week.
After countless hours, four seasons, a whole year searching for Serenity, her family still holds on to hope.
“I miss her, I just wish she would come back because it’s been a year,” Micayo Dennard, brother, said.
“I think it’s one of those things that only gets harder with time. A lot of times people will say, ‘In time it’ll get better.’ With this, given that there is no evidence, nothing to go off of it’s hard,” KaSandra Dennard, mother, said.
Serenity Dennard walked away from the Children’s Home Society in the Black Hills last February.
“The first couple days was just a blank, you are just going on autopilot, your whole world is gray. We are just standing by the phone waiting for any phone call and when the phone rings you just jump up and run to it,” Chad Dennard, father, said.
Since Serenity walked away from the Children’s Home Society in the Black Hills, there have been 224 leads in 36 states and four countries. 465 interviews have been conducted and there have been six search warrants.”
“We will always follow up on any leads until we find Serenity so we will never stop doing that. In terms of the searching side, there will come a point where we’ll probably cease searching, we are not there yet,” Kevin Thom, Pennington County Sheriff, said.
Gail Schmidt is the Fire Chief for the Rockerville Fire Department. She has searched a total of 68 days and around 400 hundred miles for Serenity.
“I’m here for the long term to be honest with you. This is something that I’ve gotten involved in from day one. I plan to continue to do that as long as the good Lord blesses me physically and mentally to be able to do it,” Gail Schmidt said.
Chief Schmidt says the searches can be very draining physically and mentally. The weather and rough terrain can make it difficult on the human body.
“It’s hard to know what Serenity was thinking at the time and how far did she get, those are the million dollar questions,” Chief Schmidt said.
From volunteers in the community to dog teams from other states, hundreds of people have joined the search.
“I tell you, to be out here working with the men and women that I’ve been, working with the team effort that has been involved out here. It’s like no other, that I’ve been involved in from a search perspective and they just continue to come back and do our best to find Serenity,” Chief Schmidt said.
Serenity’s family says they do their best to stay positive and remain hopeful.
“We have to get up every morning, get the kids ready for school we are still just going on autopilot, still just waiting to hear of any news,” Chad Dennard said.
“We will make efforts regardless, sharing her story, her face, posters, posts on social media. But as far as what I want others to keep doing, everything. Following leads, sharing her story, searching, whatever that is physically possible for each individual person is what I want by all means,” KaSandra Dennard said.
KaSandra Dennard says her daughter is very intelligent and she likes to be her own person.
“Very bubbly, blonde hair blue eyes, beautiful, she comes in the room and Serenity’s here! And you just know she’s there, she makes her presence known, she has the best laugh, you can’t forget her laugh,” KaSandra Dennard said.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family I mean that’s got to be extremely difficult on their side not knowing where their daughter is and that’s why we continue to search. Not only for them but to provide an answer, where is Serenity Dennard? That’s the question,” Chief Schmidt said.
One year later, the search for Serenity continues.