ROCKERVILLE, S.D., (KEVN TV) - Day 6 of the search for a missing 9-year-old girl in the frigid Black Hills ended Friday with no breakthrough as authorities gear up for a massive push starting Saturday.
A small crew went out in the hills Friday near Rockerville searching for Serenity Dennard, the little girl who ran away from the Black Hills Children's Home on Sunday.
There is still no sign of her.
But Saturday begins a big new push. Authorities are bringing in a helicopter and have set up a landing and takeoff area on the grounds of the Children's Home.
Two Pennington County Sheriff's deputies will ride with the copter pilot as lookouts. Authorities have established a grid pattern for the helicopter so it can systematically survey the rugged terrain.
In addition, the search area will grow.
"We'll be expanding our area," said Willie Whelchel, Pennington County Sheriff Chief Deputy. "We've had a strong focus on the one mile radius. We've gone further than the one mile radius as we've been looking for Serenity but we're even going to go further and focus on some other areas."
That's not the only new thing added for the search on Saturday.
Seven dog teams and their handlers from four different states will hit the ground. They will join the Pennington County Search and Rescue dog, Loki, who was out searching for Serenity Friday.
The dog teams are coming from South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Iowa.
Every hour these dogs will take a break because the cold air dries out their sinuses quickly. These specialized dogs are trained to detect the smell of decomposed bodies.
"One of the bigger things is with the dogs that are coming in is it's going to be a very controlled search. We don't want other searchers in those areas. The way that the dogs are coming in work we need to make sure that we know where everybody is so it doesn't through the dogs off," said Pennington County Search and Rescue Team Leader Tammy Stadel.
Stadel says the dog handlers looked through some new maps to determine the best routes for the dogs to take over the weekend. Each dog handler will be accompanied by two to five other people to help navigate and find clues.