The Clay County Sheriff's Office is investigating a report of a missing person.
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 Barbara 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, she has not reported for work at Masterworks in Vermillion or at The University of South Dakota where she is employed as a custodian.
Searches have been conducted along the highway and the banks of the Missouri River in the area where the car was located both on foot and by air. A tracking dog has been brought to the scene. None of the efforts have succeeded in locating Ms. Zenk.
While there is no indication that Ms. Zenk may have jumped or fallen from the bridge or walked out onto the ice, those possibilities cannot be ruled out at this time. The area was mostly ice covered on Saturday morning. The ice was solid under the bridge with no apparent open spots. While the investigation has found that Ms. Zenk has been dealing with depression, there has been no indication that Ms. Zenk is deceased. At this time, this matter is being considered a missing person case.
Ms. Zenk is a white female, 5'3", 130 lbs., with brown hair and green eyes. She was last seen wearing a green coat, dark pants and tennis shoes. Her vehicle is a red, 4-door, 2004 Jeep Liberty. SD license plate 19H N45. It was recovered on the state line, parked on the shoulder of the northbound lane of the Vermillion/ Newcastle, NE bridge that crosses the Missouri river.
The vehicle contained Ms. Zenk's purse, cell phone and keys.
Anyone with information regarding Ms. Zenk's whereabouts or her vehicle parked along the Vermillion/Newcastle Bridge on Highway 19 is encouraged to contact the Clay County Sheriff at (605) 677-7100. Do NOT take action to rescue the endangered person. CALL IMMEDIATELY.