18 Days: The Relisha Rudd Investigation
18 Days: The Relisha Rudd Investigation
Author: Jan Jeffcoat, Dori Olmos, CRIS MULLEN, Sonia Dasgupta
Published: 12:19 PM EDT March 19, 2018
Updated: 2:24 PM EDT May 26, 2018
INVESTIGATIONS 3 Articles

What happened to Relisha Rudd?

It's a case that's captured the D.C. area's attention for four years.

In 2014, 8-year-old Relisha Rudd disappeared, but police didn't know for 18 days.

In WUSA9's true crime podcast 18 Days, we look at what happened after Relisha was last seen and what police found out about her alleged abductor, 51-year-old Kahlil Tatum, a janitor at the D.C. homeless shelter where her family lived.

Narrated and written by WUSA9 Anchor Jan Jeffcoat and produced by Dori Olmos, the podcast takes you through the first couple days of the case, weaving in new information and sound from the people who knew Relisha and Kahlil.

We find out more about the family's day-to-day life, the places where Relisha was last seen and where the investigation stands now.

Special thanks to Cris Mullen for his help with editing.

You can subscribe to 18 Days on iTunes by clicking here or listen below through SoundCloud.

If you know anything that might help bring Relisha home, call D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099 or text tips to 50411.

EXPLORE

18 Days: The Relisha Rudd Investigation

INVESTIGATIONS
Chapter 1

EPISODE 1: March 19, 2014

Relisha Rudd was only 8 when she disappeared in DC.

In the first episode of 18 Days, Jan explores the missing girl's case by going back to the first few days it was reported. Jan talks to veteran WUSA9 journalist Bruce Leshan, who was one of the first reporters on the story, about how the case unfolded.

We begin to explore Relisha's life, her family's life in D.C. General and how she met Kahlil Tatum. We hear from Dora Taylor, a spokeswoman with the city's Department of Human Services, and we see what was life was like inside the shelter. We meet people who saw Relisha everyday at the shelter and learn more about this missing girl.

If you're in our app, click here for Episode 1.

Episode 1 Resources:

WATCH video of Relisha practicing lines for the Homeless Children's Playtime Project weeks before she disappeared.

WATCH the surveillance video of Relisha and Tatum.

SEE photos of Kahlil Tatum.

LOOK at photos from inside DC General

Chapter 2

EPISODE 2: The Evidence

In this episode, Jan digs into Kahlil Tatum's past and how he evidently was able to fool a lot of people. But Relisha's family trusted him. Relisha's step-grandmother explains why she didn't have any red flags about the janitor at the homeless shelter where Relisha's family lived.

Jan and her producer go to some of the last places Relisha was seen alive, including the hotel where the chilling surveillance video was taken of Relisha and Tatum together. They reveal new information never known before about that hotel.

The search for Relisha takes several dark turns, leading police further away from finding the little girl.

And an official at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children addresses one of the most widespread theories in Relisha's disappearance: Is there any evidence she was sold into a sex trafficking ring?

If you're in our app, click here for Episode 2.

Episode 2 Resources:

EXPLORE a map to see the important locations involved in this investigation and just how close they are

WATCH an extended interview with D.C. Police Capt. Michelle Caron

Chapter 3

EPISODE 3: Shamika Young

Shamika Young has given few TV interviews since her daughter disappeared in 2014. Most recently, she appeared on an episode of the Steve Wilkos Show with her mother, Melissa, and Antonio Wheeler, her boyfriend at the time Relisha disappeared.

Jan talked with Shamika for one of her very first TV interviews, just weeks after her daughter was last seen. In this final episode of 18 Days, we hear that interview from 2014 and also catch up with Shamika again, years later. Has her account changed?

If you're in our app, click here for Episode 3.

Episode 3 resources:

WATCH an extended interview with Shamika Young from 2017

WATCH a special investigation into Relisha's disappearance from 2014