100+ volunteers join search for 9-year-old who fled youth home in bitter cold

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Authorities said Tuesday, Feb. 5 more than 100 people were involved in the search for a 9-year-old girl who ran away from a residential youth home amid frigid weather in South Dakota.

Investigators said Serenity Dennard wasn't wearing a coat when she slipped away from the Children's Home Society on Sunday morning near Rapid City. The temperature in the area was about -29° at the time.

Pennington County sheriff's deputies were going door-to door, speaking with neighbors. Crews were also looking in outbuildings, hay bales, log piles and other spaces.

Authorities said a couple who saw the girl were able to give investigators a better timeline of events. The search Tuesday was focused on a one-mileradius of the facility's home campus.

Dennard was described by sheriff's officials as a female, Caucasian, standing 4'9" tall and weighing 90 to 100 pounds. She was last seen wearing only a long sleeved grey shirt with flowers, blue jeans and snow boots.