UPDATED, Saturday, March 29, 2014, 10:50 a.m. ET —
The “recovery mission” for Relisha Rudd entered its third day on Saturday. So far, the search of Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens for possible remains of the 8-year-old girl have turned up nothing, reports NBC4 Washington.
The latest confirmed sighting of Relisha Rudd was March 1 at a motel on New York Avenue in northeast D.C., and police believe she was accompanied by 51-year-old Kahlil Tatum. He worked as a janitor at a homeless shelter where Relisha and her family stayed.
Police say Tatum purchased a shovel, lime and contractor-sized trashbags at a Home Depot, and spent a significant amount of time at nearby Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on March 2.
Cadets, officers and firefighters conducted a grid search of the 700-acre park from dawn to dusk Thursday and Friday, and are set to return Saturday morning. The night before, crime scene technicians processed the northeast D.C. motel room where Tatum stayed March 1.
Meanwhile, a police search of Tatum’s apartment turned up five cell phones, a photo of Rudd, children’s clothing and $87 in cash. Police also said Friday that they are following up reports that Tatum also “had contact” with several other girls at the shelter where he was a janitor, and where Rudd lived.
The public is still encouraged to call 911 or 1-800-CALL-FBI if they see either Rudd or Tatum. He is wanted for the murder of his wife, and on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
UPDATED, Thursday, March 27, 2014, 8:21 P.M. ET–
Missing 8-year-old Relisha Rudd may never be seen alive again, according to D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, who stated during a press conference Thursday that the search for the girl has turned into a “recovery mission,” reports the Washington Post.
Lanier said that it was initially believed that Rudd was last seen on March 7, but it has seen been discovered that she has been missing since March 1.
The day after she was allegedly abducted by Kahlil Malik Tatum, he bought a box of black 42-gallon contractor trash bags and was seen spending time in the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens near the Maryland line, according to the Post.
“We have not given up on hope that we may find Relisha alive,” Lanier said. “But we cannot ignore the possibility that he may have killed her.”
UPDATED, Thursday, March 27, 2014, 12:45 a.m. ET–
After persistent questions about how quickly an Amber Alert went into effect outside of Washington, D.C. in the disappearance of Relisha Tenau Rudd, authorities announced Wednesday that they had extended their search to Atlanta. Meanwhile, officials say they believe the 8-year-old’s family helped her suspected abductor, Kahlil Malik Tatum, to pose as her doctor to explain her prolonged absence from school. Reports WJLA:
Mayor Vincent Gray‘s administration raised questions about the child’s grandmother, Melissa Young, and mother, Tamika Young. Around the time Relisha was seen with Tatum in surveillance video from a Northeast Washington hotel, staffers at Payne Elementary, where Relisha attended school, demanded to know why she’d been absent for so long.
School officials say Relisha’s grandmother presented the school with a paper and the number of a “Dr. Tatum.” The school called the number and a man answered, whom police now assume was Khalil Tatum, a janitor at the shelter, pretending to be a doctor.
When the school insisted on a written confirmation and Tatum reportedly told them to drop the form at the D.C. General shelter, school officials learned there was no Dr. Tatum. That’s when they called police.
Melissa Young denied that was the case, according to WJLA. Explaining that the girl suffered from migraines, she said Tatum may have known that, “But not one time did we ask him to pose as a doctor.”
Meanwhile, Kahlil Tatum has been placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for the murder of his wife, Andrea Tatum.
UPDATED, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 12:25 p.m. ET–
Surveillance video from a Washington, D.C. hotel shows a young girl police believe to be Relisha Tenau Rudd walking with her alleged abductor, 51-year-old Khalil Malik Tatum, NBC4 Washington reports. The video was taken Feb. 26 after 7 p.m., the same day Relisha went missing. See the video here.
UPDATED, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 9 a.m. ET —
The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information about Kahlil Malik Tatum in the disappearance of 8-year-old Relisha Tenau Rudd, and so is the Prince George’s County Police Department. Police have also released new photos of Tatum and of the girl.
UPDATED, Monday, March 24, 2014 —
As authorities waged a multistate search for Relisha Tenau Rudd and her alleged abductor, Khalil Malik Tatum, residents at the D.C. shelter the 8-year-old called home told the Washington Post that Tatum gave gifts and money to children living there.
Authorities say the girl’s parents, who live at the shelter, placed Relisha in Tatum’s care after he offered her a series of gifts….
When Sheron Woods’s 11-year-old daughter got a pet turtle, Woods said, Tatum showed her pictures of his own turtles and promised to bring her an old tank she could use for hers.
When it arrived, “it was a brand new tank,” Woods recalled. “I offered him some money for it, and he said no.” Later, he offered to give Woods some gravel and plants to put in the tank; she declined.
Woods, 53, said her daughter later came to her with a $20 bill — money, the girl said, that came from Tatum. Woods confronted him.
“I said, ‘She’s 11. She’s too young to be taking that kind of money from a man,’ ” she recalled. “He just looked at me and walked away.”
Tatum is employed as a janitor at the shelter, which is located at the former site of D.C. General Hospital.
UPDATED, Sunday, March 23, 2014–
Saturday night the mother and stepfather of Relisha Tenau Rudd were joined by dozens in a candlelight vigil for the missing 8-year-old, reports the Washington Post. They gathered at the homeless shelter where Rudd lived with her family, before her disappearance in the care of Kahlil Malik Tatum, a janitor who worked there. “I miss my daughter,” said the girl’s mother, Shamika Young, according to the Post. “I cry every night for her.” Rudd and Tatum have not yet been located. An Amber Alert is still in effect and the FBI has joined the investigation.
UPDATED, Saturday, March 22, 2014–
Police have charged Khalil Malik Tatum with the murder of his wife, Andrea Denise Tatum, WUSA-9 reports. Andrea Tatum, 51, was found Thursday, beaten at a Red Roof Inn on Oxon Hill Road in Prince George’s County, Md. Meanwhile, an Amber Alert is still active for 8-year-old Relisha Tenau Rudd, whom Khalil Tatum is believed to have abducted.
In the WUSA-9 video below, Rudd’s stepfather, Antonio Wheeler, explains why the parents trusted Tatum with their daughter, and allowed her to stay with him.
Police are asking anyone with information about the child’s whereabouts to call the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099, the Youth Investigations Division at 202-576-6768, or 911.
Relisha Tenau Rudd, 8, (pictured above) was last seen at a Washington family shelter Feb. 26. According to reports, Relisha is described as four feet tall and approximately 70-80 pounds. She has black hair, brown eyes and a medium complexion. A man, Kahlil Malik Tatum (pictured below,) is suspected of abducting Relisha.
According to D.C.’s ABC News7, Tatum is a janitor at the homeless shelter. It’s being reported that Relisha’s mother gave him permission to spend time with her daughter but Tatum never brought her back. Police were alerted of the girl’s disappearance, however, when her teacher reported that she’d been missing from school for weeks.
Wednesday, police found the body of Tatum’s wife in a room at a Red Roof Inn in Prince George County. She was reportedly beaten to death. Police also found a white 1976 GMC truck that they say was being used by Tatum. An Amber Alert was issued. According to the alert update issued on Thursday afternoon, Tatum may very well be armed and dangerous.