ROCKERVILLE, S.D. - It has now been more than 30 hours since a nine-year-old went missing in Pennington County. Serenity Dennard was last seen Sunday around 11:30 a.m. leaving the Children's Home Society on South Rockerville Road.
She has blue eyes and shoulder length blonde hair. Serenity was last seen wearing a long-sleeved grey shirt with flowers, blue jeans and snow boots. Authorities say she is from Sturgis and may be trying to get to family members.
Serenity is considered an Endangered Missing Person. We talked with the Children's Home Society, where Serenity was staying, and the Pennington County Sheriff's office.
We are told there are more than 60 search and rescue professionals looking for Serenity in the Black Hills right now.
The Children's Home Society tells KELOLAND News they did search every outbuilding on property and have been interviewing staff and children at the facility.
"We had two staff and four children that were in the gym together. One child went one direction, and one of our staff members that was with those children followed her. Then Serenity went the other way, and another staff member couldn't pursue her because she had two other children to be responsible. She was the only staff remaining," Bill Colson, Children's Home Society Executive Director, said.
Rescue teams have been using K-9 units, hand-held thermal imaging devices and now air patrol to search for Serenity. Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom is asking the general public stay away from the search area at this time.
"We're trying to keep it to a manageable number. Particularly with the K9s working. The first day was really critical. If you get too many people walking through the area then it has the potential to contaminate any scent trails that may exist," Thom said.
Now, if you own land in the area you are asked to check any outbuildings on your property and keep an eye out for the young girl.
As of Monday evening, officials with the Pennington County Sheriff's Office were looking for a couple believed to be the last people to see Serenity.
A man and woman were cutting wood in the area of Forest Gulch and South Rockerville Road Sunday morning between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The two spoke with Children’s Home staff before Serenity went missing.
They are described as being in their late 20s or early 30s and driving a pickup truck.
Deputies want to speak with them to better determine a timeline on Serenity’s disappearance and her direction of travel.
If you see her, please call the Pennington County Sheriff's office at 605-394-6135.