An AMBER alert was issued on Thursday for eight-year-old Relisha Tenau Rudd of Maryland, described as a four-foot tall, black female, last seen in February at a Washington homeless center.
The missing girl’s case became urgent as it is related to a homicide uncovered on Thursday morning by Washington, D.C. police. It was also reported that the white truck they had been seeking in connection to the AMBER alert was located on Thursday.
There was no additional information as to why it took so long for family to report Relisha’s disappearance after she was picked up by a person known to the family, but never returned to her mother.
After the body was discovered at a Red Roof Inn, dozens of officers from the area were spotted scouring the location where the girl’s mother lives.
Police say that last month Relisha’s mother allowed the girl, who is now the subject of the AMBER alert, to be cared for by a janitor at the shelter where the family had been staying for 18-months.
The AMBER alert states Relisha weighs between 70 and 80 pounds and was wearing braids and barrettes in her hair. However, since it’s been weeks from her last sighting, police are not sure what she looks like now.
The first AMBER alert was issued Thursday and named Kahlil Malik Tatum, the janitor, and another person, Rickie Sheridan Lyles, who were believed to be traveling in a white 1976 GMC truck with Maryland license plate 305015.
A second AMBER alert released late Thursday only named Tatum, as Lyles was not suspected of being in the vehicle.
Relisha is described as a “sweet, quiet girl” by Jamila Larson, executive director of the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project, who added that many volunteers at the shelter took time to post fliers around town.
“Everyone just feels desperate to do something to help,” Larson said.
At around midnight on Thursday, the AMBER alert was updated to include a photo of Relisha, a black Honda Accord, and a red Chevrolet TrailBlazer.
Authorities are concerned for they eight-year-old’s safety after police received a tip that led them to the Red Roof Inn and found both vehicles in the parking lot as well as the woman’s body in one of the rooms. Investigators believe her to Tatum’s wife.
Police are said to be frustrated with contradictory statements from the mother and the uncertainty as to the relationship between Tatum, the girl, and her mother. The timeline of events in the AMBER alert is also unclear to authorities investigating the case of the missing girl.
Anyone with information on the AMBER alert for Relisha Tenau Rudd is asked to call the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099, Youth Investigations Division at 202-576-6768, or 911. Anyone with information in the homicide investigation is asked to call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS. Tipsters who assist in solving the case could be eligible for a $25,000 reward.
[Image via Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department via New York Daily News]