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.

a 10-year-old girl is shown looking into the camera, and a second image of her shows what authorities think she might look like now at age 14
Serenity Dennard is shown at age 10 when she went missing, and on right, an age-enhanced image of what she might look like now at age 14.
Photos courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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.

More Missing Persons from The Vault
After a seven hour search police say 15-year-old Kanyon Tollefson was found by the owner of the apartment when he returned home.
The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives walk and event at the State Capitol grounds at noon Friday.
On June 3, 2013, Jose "Joe" Christopher Lee was legally declared a missing person after a vehicle he was driving was found abandoned, with his cell phone on the passenger’s seat, on a county road.
The attorney general’s office launched the North Dakota Missing Persons database at the end of 2022, but the process began when legislation passed in 2019.
Marine Sergeant Bruce Falconer was last seen driving away from a North Dakota bar with Timothy Jewell in the winter of 1981. Falconer's remains were discovered nearby in 1993.
Trail County Sheriff Steve Hunt does not believe there is any danger to the public.
The Grand Forks Police Department confirmed on Wednesday that he was found
Forum News Service has obtained a police report on Kenneth Edward Tank which sheds new light on the investigation, including theories that Tank became a target of some with ties to organized crime.
Search teams have worked diligently to cover the 140-square mile area of interest, but some landowners have refused to allow access to search parties working to find Swanson, missing since 2008.
The strange disappearance of South Dakota man nicknamed 'Beaner' remains unsolved.

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.


Serenity Dennard
Serenity Dennard’s 2019 disappearance from a secured children’s facility nestled in South Dakota’s Black Hills still stuns the community.
Photo courtesy of National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

"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.

Serenity Updated Photo.jpg
Serenity Dennard was 10 years old when she walked out of Children’s Home Society in South Dakota on Feb. 3, 2019. She has not been seen since.
Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

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.

Trisha Taurinskas is an enterprise crime reporter for Forum Communications Co., specializing in stories related to missing persons, unsolved crime and general intrigue. Her work is primarily featured on The Vault.

Trisha is also the host of The Vault podcast.

Trisha began her journalism career at Wisconsin Public Radio. She transitioned to print journalism in 2008, and has since covered local and national issues related to crime, politics, education and the environment.

Trisha can be reached at
What To Read Next
Get Local