DC police search park again in Relisha Rudd case

UPDATE: MPD Police Chief Cathy Lanier will give an update on the case at 1:20 p.m. We plan to stream the press conference online once it starts.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Friday, officers with the Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI will continue their search in Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in their investigation into the disappearance of Relisha Rudd.

The 8-year-old girl from D.C. was last seen on March 1, according to MPD Police Chief Cathy Lanier. During a press conference on Thursday, Lanier said that Relisha Rudd's mother gave permission for the girl to be with Khalil Tatum, who was a janitor at the DC General homeless shelter where Relisha's family lived for the last year.

On March 2, police determined that Tatum bought some black 42-gallon trash bags, a shovel and lime or lye - a chemical sometimes used in the burying of bodies - in D.C. and was seen at the Kenilworth Aquatic Center and Park soon after those purchases, said Lanier.

"This trash bag thing really has me scared now," said Belinda Wheeler, Relisha's step-grandmother. "You're not going to do no lawnscaping, landscaping or whatever. Why you buying trash bags? Makes me think [Tatum is] trying to hide something. He's trying to hide something."

Tatum was seen at work and other places, between March 2nd and March 20th, says Lanier, but Relisha was not with him.


"We're not making any assumptions but I think it would be prudent for us to search, and this is a very large area, search this area. We cannot ignore the possibility that he may have killed her," said Chief Lanier, who added that, what began as a search for Relisha, is now being called a recovery effort.

"To me, that sounds like she's dead," said Wheeler. "I don't want to think this, I want her brought back home, but once again, once you're under pressure you're liable to do anything," she added about Tatum, who Wheeler thinks may panic and hurt Relisha.

The Metropolitan Police Department suspended the search for Thursday evening without finding any evidence. Officials said they would resume their search on Friday morning and give an update on their progress midday.

Also on Friday, the Council of the District of Columbia is holding a roundtable examining safety procedures at the city's family homeless shelter where Relisha Rudd was living with her mother and brothers, and ways to ensure the protection of all the children staying there.

We will have an update on the case live at noon on WUSA9.



To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories