Relisha Rudd, the 8-year-old girl missing since March 1, was the objective of a police search in a Washington, D.C. park. Instead of Relisha, the police found the body of the man believed to be her kidnapper.
Relisha was last seen with the man found in the park, 51-year-old Kahlil Tatum, who was the janitor at the homeless shelter where she lived. Even though the body of the man found by police has yet to be officially identified, it is strongly believed to be Tatum.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters that “everything we have is consistent with what (investigators) know about (Tatum’s) appearance,” adding that his death was “most likely a suicide.”
The search for Relisha Rudd was intensified last week as police began combing Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, the place where Tatum had spent time following Relisha’s disappearance.
Police Chief Lanier said: “On March 2, we know that Mr. Tatum purchased, among other items, a carton of black, 42-gallon, self-tie contractor trash bags within the District of Columbia. Not long after that purchase, Mr. Tatum was in the area of the aquatic gardens for a period of time.”
Police became concerned when Tatum’s wife’s body was found earlier this month in a Maryland motel, that discovery prompted police to issue an Amber Alert at the time for Relisha Rudd.
Even though Tatum’s body was found in the park police are still searching the same area for the little girl: “We’re still here for the reason we came to be here, to find Relisha,” said Lanier.
Chief Lanier confirmed that the search for the girl has been extensive so far with: “hundreds of police officers and firefighter cadets” being recruited to assist with the search including divers, underwater cameras, aerial surveillance, search dogs, and cadaver dogs.
Lanier confirmed on Monday that: “Our primary focus here was to find Relisha. We’re not finished. That search is continuing.”