Authorities continue search for missing woman

The Clay County Sheriff's Office is continuing its search for Barbara Zenk.

A report was received Saturday morning, March 6, of an abandoned vehicle on Highway 19 south of Vermillion at the Missouri River. The vehicle is registered to Ms. Zenk, 52, of Vermillion. Ms. Zenk was formerly a resident of Newcastle, NE.

Attempts to locate Ms. Zenk in the area her vehicle was located have been unsuccessful. As of Monday morning, March 8, she had not reported for work at Masterworks in Vermillion or at The University of South Dakota where she is employed as a custodian.

On Wednesday, March 10, the personnel from the local sheriff's office continued the search of the area where Ms. Zenk's vehicle was found. They were assisted by the Codington County Search and Rescue Team, which has the capabilities to conduct cold water diving and searches using bloodhounds.

Three dogs were used to search the area along the highway and the Missouri River in the area where the car was found as well as out on the ice covering the Missouri River. Conditions were too treacherous to permit a diver to go under water in the strong current and freezing temperatures.

The ground search efforts at the scene again produced no indication that Ms. Zenk is in that area.

Information about the missing woman has been entered into the NCIC computer system nationwide and an Endangered Person Advisory was issued for her by the state of South Dakota. A copy of the missing person poster is available at the state of South Dakota homepage at and at the Clay County Sheriff's home page at

Anyone with information regarding Ms. Zenk's whereabouts or her vehicle parked near the Vermillion/Newcastle Bridge on Highway 19 is encouraged to contact the Clay County Sheriff at (605) 677-7100.

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