It has now been four days since 9-year-old Serenity Dennard walked away from the Black Hills Home Society. Tuesday night authorities moved the search from a rescue to recovery effort. The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says if Serenity has been outside this entire time, it’s unlikely she survived.
However they have not ruled out the possibility she could still be alive in a warm shelter or was picked up by someone.
More than 100 people helped in the search for Serenity Dennard on Tuesday, but now only people from the Pennington County Sheriff’s office remain in the area.
“We still have deputies up there, we still are manning our command post, but as far as ground search people that are in the woods, we don’t have folks doing that, we suspended that approximately 4 or 5 yesterday,” PCSO Chief deputy, Willie Welchel said.
The sheriff’s office says it’s still trying to figure out all the details of what happened the morning Serenity disappeared.
“We have five investigators that are assigned to this, this is all they’re doing, working every lead, every possibility, continue to interview staff and other children in the home and family and neighbors, anybody that might have possibly been on that road,” Whelchel said.
A map shows the areas that have been searched. Authorities say if she is in the woods, a one mile radius is where she’d likely be.
“The yellow lines are where people have been with GPS, so we’ve covered all this area, the blue lines are where the civil air patrol flew their plane on Monday, you can see they got a lot of coverage there, the pink is where we’ve had search dogs,” PCSO Lieutenant, Kraig Wood said.
Whelchel says they’re also hoping for a break from the weather.
“With the real cold temperatures and snow, what we really need is a break in this weather, for that too, but we’re trying to get those resources just as soon as we can,” Whelchel said.
Specialized canines from eastern South Dakota and Colorado have been requested, but the sheriff’s office isn’t sure when they will be able to come out.
If you have any information you’re asked to call the sheriff’s office at 605-394-6115.