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The investigation into a 9-year-old girl who ran away from a youth residential home in rural Pennington County remains ongoing nearly three weeks after she went missing. 

"Even though the weather prohibits an effective and safe outdoors search for Serenity Dennard, the investigation remains a top priority," the Pennington County Sheriff's Office said Thursday in a news release.  

A plan is also being developed to continue searching for Dennard once it warms up and the snow melts, the sheriff's office said. 

So far, the sheriff's office has conducted 188 interviews and served three search warrants. There have been 45 leads from South Dakota and other states, and all have been looked into by the sheriff's office or out-of-state agencies. The sheriff's office is also telling the FBI about the out-of-state leads, said Helene Duhamel, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office. 

Dennard left the Black Hills Children's Home, located near Rockerville, around 10:45 a.m. Feb. 3. After searching for her, staff called law enforcement at 12:26 p.m. About 355 people and 14 dogs from 34 agencies, plus a helicopter and plane, searched for Dennard from Feb. 3-5, Feb. 8-10 and Feb. 13. 

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Dennard is white, 4 feet 7 inches tall, weighs 96 pounds, and has blue eyes and shoulder-length dark-blonde hair. She was wearing a long-sleeved gray shirt with flowers, blue jeans and black snow boots when she ran away. 

Anyone with information about Dennard should call the sheriff's office at 394-6115. 


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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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