The search is being put on hold. More than a week later and Serenity Dennard is still missing in the Black Hills. The nine-year-old girl was last seen on February 3, after leaving the Children’s Home Society near Rockerville.
While they haven’t given up all hope of finding Serenity alive, officials say it’s very unlikely if the girl has been outside this long. Right now, they’re taking a break from the search to regroup.
The search for Serenity has been expanding.
Teams have been looking outside the original one-mile radius. There have been 350 personnel on the ground. Over the weekend, they added more specially-trained dogs to the search.
“I have to tell you, everyone involved in this search has poured themselves into this. Physically and emotionally. It’s been very draining on both fronts. And of course our goal is to bring Serenity home,” Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said.
Local businesses are stepping in to help the search crews stay fueled.
“The Gaslight Restaurant in Rockerville has adopted us and provided a warm place to sit down and take a break and eat meals,” Thom said.
Authorities say they have been checking surveillance footage from businesses in the area and talking to residents.
Some search dogs did show an interest in a small creek nearby on Sunday, but there are still no signs of Serenity. All of this work is now being put on hold.
“We have to re-assess where we are going to go from here. The weather has not been our friend on this search,” Thom said.
Authorities say the cold and snow are making it nearly impossible for the dogs to find a scent, and with the terrain, it’s been difficult for people to get around on foot.
Even though there’s no evidence Serenity was picked up or found shelter somewhere, the team working hard to find her isn’t giving up hope just yet.