WASHINGTON D.C., DC — The community has not lost hope in finding Relisha Rudd. It’s been eight years since anyone has seen her. On Monday, activists along with the DC Police Department and other organizations held a Remembrance Day event in her honor in Northeast D.C.
The community activist we spoke to Monday said it’s still possible that she’s alive and hopes that sharing pictures of her, as often as possible, will one day lead them to her.
“Relisha is everybody. The next child could be Relisha,” Henderson Long said.
At eight years old, Relisha Rudd had her share of challenges. At the time of her disappearance, she was living in a shelter in Southeast, D.C. The last time anyone saw her, was with a janitor, Khalil Tatum. Before police could question him, he died by suicide.
Henderson Long hosted Monday’s remembrance. “If you can help one family, you’re better off than you were a day ago,” he said.
Phocuz Phill is a D.C. podcaster and activist. The shirt bearing Relisha’s face is worn, but until she is found, he’s vowing to wear it as often as possible. He's disappointed that nearly a decade later, there’s still little information about her disappearance.
“The mom won’t come forward or anything, so, she has nobody really fighting for her. And then we start doing things like search parties and remembrance days, that's not a good thing at all. It may be that she's no longer with us. So, that's one thing I want to do, keep her name alive,” Phill said.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released a new age-progression image of Relisha who would now be 17 years old. ANC Commissioner Erin Palmer, who represents a part of Ward 4, said Relisha’s disappearance is a reminder of the insecurity so many in DC are dealing with, housing.
“In this instance and in many instances, this is a child, a child who deserved protection, who deserved the stability of a home having safe, stable and secure housing. It's really something we can be mindful of and fighting for all the time,” Palmer said.
If you know anything about Relisha’s disappearance or whereabouts, call 202-727-9099.
There is a $50,000 reward for information.