Relisha Rudd has been missing since March 1 and although a recent search did not offer any clues to her whereabouts, it did turn up the body of the man suspected of abducting her.
Kahlil Tatum, a 51-year-old janitor at the homeless shelter where Relisha lived with her family, was the last person seen with the girl. His body was found in a park in Washington DC. Police believe he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Police began to search Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens last week after they found evidence that Tatum had been to the park several times after Relisha’s disappearance. The police also learned that he had purchased several suspicious items around the time the girl went missing.
“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,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. “Not long after that purchase, Mr. Tatum was in the area of the aquatic gardens for a period of time.”
Tatum’s wife was found dead in a hotel room in Maryland on March 19, and Tatum was charged with her murder. An Amber Alert was released a short time later for Relisha Rudd.
Police continue to search for Relisha and say that they have hundreds of police officers and firefighter cadets searching each day.
Divers, underwater cameras, aerial surveillance, search dogs, and cadaver dogs are also being used in the search to find Relisha. At this point, police are not sure if the girl is dead or alive but are considering all possibilities.
“Our primary focus here was to find Relisha,” Lanier said Monday. “We’re not finished. That search is continuing.”
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