Sheriff says social media posts can compromise missing persons cases

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - A former state senator from Rapid City who has a social media following of more than 10,000 people posted on Thursday night - saying she had insight that 10-year-old Serenity Dennard, who has been missing for almost a year, was spotted in surveillance videos in the state of Washington.

The Pennington County Sheriff's Office said social media can be a good tool for law enforcement but it should be used responsibly, especially during a missing persons case such as Serenity's. (KEVN)

Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said posting sensitive information on social media can compromise missing persons cases and is irresponsible.

Thom said the Pennington County Sheriff's Office should be the only source where information comes from regarding the whereabouts of Serenity.

Thom said whether someone thinks their information is credible, giving out specific information on a missing person via social media can give a perpetrator information that law enforcement is coming and can compromise a case - such as Serenity's.

"They are irresponsible comments. I'm disappointed that somebody would take potentially confidential investigative information and feel the need to go out on social media and tell the world that if we were going to look for a particular person in a particular place that - 'Hey, we are coming to look for you.' I think it's just irresponsible and I'm not going to confirm where we are going or not going in terms of our investigative leads," said Sheriff Thom.

Thom said they have been very transparent on the investigation throughout the 11 months Serenity has been missing.

Adding that they have followed up on more than 20 leads involving reported sightings of Serenity and have interviewed more than 460 people.

The Pennington County Sheriff's Office said they understand people want information on where the 10-year-old girl is and try to update the public with as much accurate information as they see appropriate.