Serenity June Dennard already had a long story when she was nine years old in 2019. Born on May 12, 2009, Serenity had already been in about a dozen foster families after being taken away from her biological parents.

Why exactly she was separated from them isn’t established, but by the time she was nine, she was in the care of Chad Dennard and Darcie Gentry.

However, the fact that Serenity was already in the custody of so many families has been a point that left her with trauma. She was also known to run away many times from her home in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Because of that her parents decided it was best for Serenity to start a runaway prevention program and deal with her trauma at the Black Hills Children’s Home in Rockerville, also in South Dakota.

In July 2018, her time at the children’s home, which was about 40 miles from Sturgis, started.

The Last Time She Was Seen

By late January 2019, half a year had passed since Serenity came to Black Hills. Somewhen around that time, she also ran away, but luckily returned.

However, this led to Serenity being under increased surveillance by her caregivers. It was decided that this wouldn’t last all too long.

Shortly before February 3, all monitoring stopped. But Serenity running away another time wasn’t far anymore.

That day, on February 3, Serenity was last seen running away from the children’s home in the morning. An elderly woman who was arriving there at the time with her granddaughter saw the little girl, and realized that she was fleeing.

So she tried to run after Serenity, but soon lost track of her. She immediately alarmed staff inside the facility that the young girl was gone.

That was at 11:20AM. Still it took another hour until caregivers called 911 and reported Serenity missing.

Largest Search in South Dakota

It didn’t take long until a large-scaled search for Serenity Dennard began. It became one of the largest of its kind in the history of South Dakota.

Aircrafts were used to look for the girl from the sky, and cadaver dogs went through all areas that Serenity could have been. Hundreds of interviews were conducted, but alas, there wasn’t a single sign of the nine-year-old.

Within the first two years of her disappearance, all this has been done. But by January 2021, the effort stopped after investigators realized they reached a de*ad end and there was nothing to be done anymore without more evidence or clues.

That doesn’t mean the case is closed for good. It’s the opposite rather. Individuals are highly encouraged to report every little clue they have in regard to Serenity’s disappearance.

But what happened to the girl?

One of the prevailing theories is that Serenity ran into the woods and died of hypothermia in the cold February weather — she wasn’t even wearing a warm jacket or coat to sustain the icy air.

“I think she liked to run and she wouldn’t run very far, but she liked to see people looking for her,” Dennard said. “I think she watched people look for her and I think she went too far and got lost. That’s just Serenity, and she had done that before.”

Serenity’s adoptive parents have hired an investigating agency themselves to aid in the case of their daughter.

Another result of the case is that policies at the Black Hills Children’s Home have changed and staff were ordered “more intensive traning,” as Bill Colson, the former executive director of The Children’s Home Society, the parent organization of Black Hills, announced.

But these changes came too late for Serenity. Three years have gone without her appearing anywhere. If she were still alive today, she would be 13 years old.

Anyone with information about Serenity’s disappearance is kindly asked to call 605–394–6115.

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