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SD SERENITY DENNARD: Missing from Rapid City, SD - 3 Feb 2019 - Age 9

Discussion in 'Missing 2015 to Present' started by SheWhoMustNotBeNamed, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Sundance

    Sundance Active Member

    This is so sad. I heard about this case several months ago but forgot all about it until now. How do investigators know she is dead? Could it be possible that she is being held captive by someone? It's not likely, but I hope she is alive.
    KareBear, Whatsnext and kdg411 like this.
  2. KareBear

    KareBear Well-Known Member

    It is so very sad! How she could have gotten so far from the vicinity of the area (on foot) that search and rescue teams cannot find her, is astonishing.
    It seems they believe she is deceased, mostly, because of the temperature outside and the fact that she was not dressed to withstand the cold overnight. I keep holding on to hope that someone out there has her (a hermit, perhaps, that doesnt watch the news and believes they are doing right by her) and she is safe.
    Sundance and kdg411 like this.
  3. Sundance

    Sundance Active Member

    I agree. She is just a child, and especially if it was cold out, she could have succumbed to the elements easily, not getting far at all.
    That could be possible. I'd like to believe that's how it is.
    Steve, kdg411 and KareBear like this.
  4. wenn9366

    wenn9366 Active Member

    I would think that if she succumbed to the elements in winter, she would have been found by now. Starting to seem more likely that she met either with foul play at the children's home or someone picked her up.
    Steve and KareBear like this.
  5. KareBear

    KareBear Well-Known Member

    Corrections head reconsiders ban against legislator
    Seth Tupper Journal staff
    Aug 11, 2019 Updated Aug 11, 2019

    A state senator was suspended from visiting Department of Corrections facilities in South Dakota, but that suspension may now be vacated in light of new information, according to the department’s top official. The conflict between state Sen. Lynne DiSanto, R-Box Elder, and the Department of Corrections dates back to at least March. DiSanto sought permission to pay a visit that month to the biological mother of Serenity Dennard, the 9-year-old girl who ran away from the Black Hills Children’s Home in February and has never been found. Dennard’s biological mother was an inmate at the state Women’s Prison in Pierre.

    The department approved the visit by DiSanto, who has created a Facebook pageand a website — both called Lynne Seeks Truth — where she publicly discusses the Dennard case. But the department’s deputy secretary verbally denied DiSanto’s request to make a recording of her conversation with Dennard’s biological mother. Written departmental policies state that no photograph, audio or video recording may be made during a prison visit without specific prior approval.

    According to DiSanto, when she arrived at the prison, she asked to speak to the warden, with the intent of again seeking permission to record. But the warden was not present, so DiSanto said she asked a prison employee.

    “I said to that person, ‘Is it OK if I record?’” DiSanto recalled. “And they said ‘yes.’”

    DiSanto then made recordings during her prison visit with DiSanto’s biological mother and posted them online. DiSanto’s YouTube page includes a video and an audio recording of the visit, each posted March 13 and each with more than 9,000 views since then.

    Secretary of Corrections Mike Leidholt said he learned of the recordings sometime soon after they were posted online, and he subsequently wrote and sent a letter to DiSanto informing her that she was suspended from visiting Department of Corrections facilities because of her violation of the department’s rule about recordings.

    Leidholt said he mailed the letter to DiSanto and also emailed it to her official legislative email address. He declined to release a copy of the letter to the Journal, and South Dakota law exempts correspondence from mandatory disclosures of public records.

    DiSanto said she never received the letter.

    “I have not received anything from anyone,” she said.

    After being interviewed recently by the Journal about the situation, DiSanto contacted Leidholt and told him an employee at the prison gave her permission to record. Leidholt said he then conducted an inquiry to determine whether that employee — apparently, a control-room operator — had in fact given DiSanto permission.

    “The control-room operator doesn’t agree that happened,” Leidholt said. “But he’s not able to show definitively that it didn’t happen.”

    Leidholt said security recordings of DiSanto’s time at the prison five months ago have since been automatically overwritten.

    Leidholt said he will now “probably” rescind the suspension he imposed against DiSanto.

    “We do not have enough evidence to refute her version of the story, so I guess we’re going to have to accept her version of the story,” Leidholt said.

    Yet he remains upset with DiSanto.

    “It still concerns me,” Leidholt said, “that she received an answer from the deputy secretary and then went out to the Women’s Prison apparently looking for a different answer.”

    DiSanto said the blame lies with the Department of Corrections.

    “I had someone that was watching me in that room, and so if I couldn’t record that person that was watching me should have said something,” DiSanto said.

    DiSanto’s activism in regard to the missing-person case has made her a lightning rod for criticism and support on social media. Her critics have accused her of using the case to raise her own profile, while supporters have praised her for honoring Dennard’s memory, keeping the case in the public eye, and conducting her own searches with fellow volunteers.

    Facebook messages about the Dennard case between DiSanto and one of her constituents grew so heated earlier this summer that the constituent reported one of DiSanto’s messages to the Box Elder police as a threat. An officer investigated and did not find the elements of a crime but did issue a no-trespass order against DiSanto at the constituent’s request.

    DiSanto said threats have been made against her, too, including an online written comment to her that said, “you’re digging your grave, fast.” DiSanto said she reported the comment to authorities, but she opted not to press charges or to seek a no-contact order or restraining order.

    Meanwhile, more than 1,000 searchers have logged 4,300 miles during numerous officially organized searches for Dennard in the area near the Black Hills Children’s Home, a privately owned but government-funded facility that Dennard ran away from on a dangerously cold and snowy day in February. The area is several miles south of Rockerville in a mountainous and forested area of the Black Hills.

    Regulatory agencies have filed reports critical of Black Hills Children’s Home officials and employees for waiting too long to call 911 immediately after Dennard ran away, lacking a sufficient emergency preparedness plan, failing to conduct training or drills for runaways, falling into complacency after previous attempted runaways, conducting an initially disorganized search for Dennard, using several different radio communication channels during the initial search instead of one common channel, and not following the home’s own policy regarding lost children on campus.

    In addition to the searches for Dennard, a continuing investigation into her disappearance by the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office has included 440 interviews or contacts, according to the office’s own tally, with nothing so far leading authorities to believe that Dennard is still alive.

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  6. KareBear

    KareBear Well-Known Member

    Sheriff: Search for Serenity continues, six months after girl ran away
    Seth Tupper Journal staff
    Aug 11, 2019

    Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said Thursday he cannot unequivocally state that a 9-year-old girl missing since February is dead, but his office’s investigation has not yet turned up anything leading him to believe she is alive.

    Thom spent several hours Thursday morning with a group of about 35 people from multiple local and regional agencies searching for Serenity Dennard in the area she was last seen.

    It was the latest of numerous official searches involving a total of more than 1,000 people who have collectively logged more than 4,300 miles searching for Dennard, according to the sheriff’s office. The searches have also included 91 canines and their handlers and seven aircraft.

    Concurrent with the search for Dennard, the sheriff’s office continues to investigate her disappearance. That investigation has led the office to chase 195 leads in 15 states, conduct 440 interviews or contacts and execute six search warrants, according to the office’s own tally.

    Additionally, information-sharing by the sheriff’s office with the media, on social media and with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has resulted in millions of views, according to web traffic monitored by the sheriff’s office.

    Thom’s office has been criticized by social media commenters, including some on a Facebook page called “Lynne Seeks Truth”that was created and is maintained by state Sen. Lynne DiSanto, R-Box Elder.

    On Aug. 3, for example, a commenter on DiSanto’s page wrote this about authorities searching for Dennard: “When are they going to stop checking the same spots in the woods and realize she was probably kidnapped?”

    Another person in the same string of comments on DiSanto’s page wrote, “They seem to have every excuse imaginable as to why they are unable to look for Serenity, first its too cold, then too hot, then the terrain and tall grass now it's the rally/bikers, LE [law enforcement] in that area is a complete joke!”

    Yet another person in the same comment string on DiSanto’s page wrote, “Too bad the investigators don't do more, she's not in the woods, it looks more fishy as time goes on.”

    Some comments posted to DiSanto’s page make allegations of wrongdoing against authorities. “This has ‘child trafficking’ all over it, and cover-up of authorities and/or governmental agencies possibly involved,” one person wrote in a comment posted to DiSanto’s page on July 29.

    DiSanto said in an interview with the Journal about Dennard, “We don’t know if she’s in the woods. Someone may have her.”

    Thom said if anyone has information about Dennard’s disappearance, they should report it to his office or another law enforcement agency.

  7. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    New leads and more dog teams as the search for Serenity Dennard continues

    Nearly seven months since Serenity Dennard disappeared from the Black Hills Children's Home and the search for her continues this week with new leads for investigators and more dog teams.

    This week, the dog team from Colorado joined in the search in a two-mile radius near the Children's Home.

    They continue to hit on scents in the area but still no other evidence of the missing ten-year-old.

    Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said they are still narrowing in and eliminating certain areas in Rockerville.

    He says odors can carry for five to 10 miles but walking just one square mile of the rough terrain is a challenge for search teams.

    So far, nearly 4,400 hours have been logged searching with the help of dog teams from five states.

    "We've bounced around a little bit in terms of closer and then out further, and then come back in a little closer. Some areas continue to, you know, eliminate areas, systematically. I guess the best example is we are kind of working out now as compared to where we were from February where she went missing initially," Sheriff Thom said.

    Thom said the search is still weather dependent but the volunteer dog team from Colorado will remain in the area till Thursday
    Investigators continue to look into new leads from other states as well.


  8. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Serenity Dennard's family raises money to support searchers

    222 days have gone by since Serenity Dennard went missing on a bitter cold and snowy February day.

    Some of her family hosted a fundraiser at the Loud American in Sturgis Friday night to thank the searchers who spent thousands of hours trying to find her.

    "Every day you just wake up thinking today is going to be the day you're going to find Serenity," said Chad Dennard, Serenity's adoptive father.

    We asked Chad what would he want Serenity to hear if she was listening to our interview and he said "Little Ms. Serenity, I love you. Come home. We miss you."

    Pulled pork, a silent auction, and donation jars were set all throughout the popular venue in Serenity's hometown of Sturgis.

    With close to 4500 hours logged so far in the search for his daughter, Chad and his family thanked the officials, volunteers, and even dogs that have trekked the Rockerville area in an effort to bring her back.

    Heather Tullis, Serenity's aunt, says the family is pulling in support the best way they know how.

    "They are the ones that are logging the miles and getting out there to find her and they are literally donating all of their free time to finding her and they're not going to stop so we have to keep them going," Tullis said.

    He said the best way the public can be of help is to share what they know about the daughter he misses so much.

    "Put the word out there. That my daughter's still missing. If anybody has any news, please contact the law enforcement," he continued.

    Crews are set to continue searching this weekend.

    spike, Whatsnext, Steve and 2 others like this.
  9. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Children’s Home Society gets new CEO

    The Children’s Home Society has named Michelle Lavallee as new chief executive officer, replacing Bill Colson who retires at the end of the year.

    Michelle Lavallee will have her primary office in Sioux Falls but “will be regularly serving within the Black Hills campus as well,” according to a Children’s Home Society release.

    “South Dakota’s children and families will benefit greatly from Michelle’s strong leadership skills in strategy development, fundraising and workforce development,” said Meg Warder, CHS board chair.

    The Black Hills Children’s Home has been under the microscope since the beginning of February, when 9-year-old Serenity Dennard ran away from the home near Rockerville. Despite months of extensive searches, Serenity is still missing.

    Lavallee will be the society’s 10th leader; and the first woman to hold the job.

    “I’m so inspired by the work of Children’s Home Society and am humbled to further expand its mission,” said Lavallee.

    Increasing workforce development services and expanding Children’s Inn, an emergency shelter for women and children, are Lavallee’s immediate priorities, according to CHS.

    Kimster, Steve, spike and 2 others like this.
  10. Summer_breeze

    Summer_breeze Blowing through the Jasmine in my mind

    Combination of low and high-tech equipment in Search and Rescues


    By Anderley Penwell |

    Posted: Thu 5:15 PM, Oct 17, 2019 |
    Updated: Thu 7:06 PM, Oct 17, 2019

    RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Pennington County recently announced the purchase of a $121,000 all-terrain vehicle to be used in Search and Rescues, called the SHERP Pro.

    In recent months, there have been some high-profile search and rescue operations in the area and searchers and officials have shared some of the methods that they use. They range from the simple, to the technologically advanced. The marriage of low tech and high tech is important.
  11. KareBear

    KareBear Well-Known Member

    :sigh:I hate that she is STILL missing... on a positive note, I am glad to see that LE and the community hasn't given up hope, or forgotten about Serenity. They have maintained momentum, the best they can, in their search efforts. :candle:
  12. GrandmaBear

    GrandmaBear Well-Known Member

  13. GrandmaBear

    GrandmaBear Well-Known Member

    I hope this is okay to post; if not let me know.

    It is video from a search for Serenity that I had never seen--maybe others have.

    The dog seeming to alert continually is interesting. If I have it right though, this was last winter.
  14. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    9 months later, search continues for missing South Dakota girl

    At the beginning of February, then 9-year-old Serenity Dennard, disappeared from the Black Hills Children’s Home in Rockerville, South Dakota.

    More than nine months later, searchers still haven’t given up hope of finding her.

    Volunteers and the Northern Hills Wolfpack Working Dogs searched for Serenity on Saturday.

    The group was able to take advantage of the weather and lack of snow that has hampered search efforts in the past.

    More than 1,000 people have searched for the now-10-year-old girl, investigating hundreds of leads over 15 states.

    kdg411 and GrandmaBear like this.

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