SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — On this National Missing Children’s Day, there’s growing concern for a number of children in South Dakota who have been reported as missing; 25 cases just this month, alone.
Law enforcement believes most of them are runaways, but some are considered endangered due to their age.
The South Dakota Attorney General’s office keeps track of all the people reported missing in the state, some are as young as three years old.
Nine year old Serenity Dennard has been missing for over two years; when she was last seen walking away from the Children’s Home Society in the Black Hills.
Despite repeated and exhausting searches she hasn’t been found.
“First and foremost if somebody is missing, doesn’t matter if they are an adult or a child they can report it to police,” Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said.
Police say in most cases, the kids are considered runaways.
“They may take off after a dispute at home they may be angry with someone and decide they want to spend time with friends or whatever,” Clemens said.
If someone is reported missing and they are 13 years old or younger, or if they have medical conditions or based on their mental capacity, they are listed as missing and endangered.
“Those are the times when we see children who are posted on social media or we will send out press releases to the media; just trying to get the public’s help to find them as quickly as possible,” Clemens said.
Clemens says child abductions are rare, but they do happen and that’s when law enforcement relies heavily on the public eyes and ears to find them.
If we have a missing endangered juvenile, we will send that information to state radio in Pierre and they will relay that information basically across the nation,” Clemens said.
According to the AG’s website, South Dakota usually has between 65 to 90 missing juvenile cases at any given time.
To take a closer look at all the people reported missing in the state, click here.