Have you seen her? 10-year-old Serenity Dennard vanished in 2019. Here's how she might look now, at age 14
Serenity Dennard was just 10 years old when she escaped from Children’s Home Society, a locked facility for children with behavioral struggles nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Serenity Dennard’s 2019 disappearance from a rural Black Hills children’s facility still stuns South Dakota residents.
Dennard was just 10 years old when she escaped from Children’s Home Society in Rockerville, a locked facility for children with behavioral struggles.
She walked into the cold February day without appropriate winter clothing necessary for survival. With no coat or boots, Dennard simply left – and was never seen again.
By the time local authorities were called, more than an hour had passed. A large-scale search effort was conducted, but failed to provide investigators with any clues as to where the young girl had gone.
Now, more than four years later, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office in Rapid City are urging the public to take note of an age-enhanced photo of Dennard. She would be 14 years old.
"We’re all watching Serenity grow up before our eyes through these images and it’s surreal,” NCMEC’s Communication Director Angeline Hartmann said in a statement. “At NCMEC, we know that our age progression images can be a catalyst in a missing child investigation and we're hoping this will somehow generate fresh leads."
A mystery, unsolved
For two years, investigators didn’t stop searching for Dennard.
Large-scale search efforts scoured the areas surrounding the children’s home – from the air and on the ground. More than 60 agencies joined in the efforts, using aircraft, thermal technology and specialized cadaver dogs to locate Dennard.
No clues related to Dennard's whereabouts were ever uncovered.
From the start, investigators theorized that Dennard had run off into the Black Hills, where she could have possibly succumbed to the harsh South Dakota winter. Yet, even after two years of searches, no evidence was discovered to support that theory.
The facility where she disappeared from is located within a remote, rural area. Following Dennard’s disappearance, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office indicated they did not suspect any one individual as being responsible for her disappearance.
Now, Pennington County Sheriff Brian Mueller is hoping that the age-enhanced photo will lead to answers for this puzzling and heartbreaking mystery.
“This is another investigative tool in an open and active investigation,” Mueller said in a statement sent to Forum News Service. “Although the physical search has been exhausted, we follow up on all leads as we look for answers in this painful and difficult missing person case.”
If you have information regarding Serenity Dennard’s whereabouts, contact the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office at 605-394-6115 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.