WASHINGTON — March 1, 2021 marks seven years since Relisha Rudd disappeared from a homeless shelter in Northeast D.C.
Police, loved ones, community members, and organizations are working to make sure she is not forgotten.
The groups passed out flyers, advertising the $50,000 reward for information, and republicizing Relisha’s age progression photo. The initiative came after a news conference Monday afternoon at New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road in Northeast.
Relisha disappeared when she was 8 and would now be 15 years old.
“It’s a hole in the community,” Henderson Long said. “Relisha Rudd was adorable. Relisha Rudd was the kind of child who walked into the room – light the whole room up.”
Relisha was last seen on March 1, in 2014 with Kahlil Tatum, who was a 51-year-old janitor at D.C. General Family Shelter, where Relisha and her family lived.
Surveillance video captured the moments Relisha and Tatum were seen walking the halls of the shelter at a Holiday Inn Express.
It wasn’t until 18 days later that Relisha's school reported her missing after being absent so many days.
News of Relisha's disappearance was sent out on March 20 that year saying she was missing and that she was probably with Tatum.
“Between March 1 and March 18, no AMBER Alert was sounded for Relisha Rudd – no national alert went out for her. It was a lot of unaccounted for time within those 18 days. You know 18 days is a long time for a child to be unaccounted for,” Long told WUSA9.
On April 1, 2014, Tatum was found shot dead at Kenilworth Park.
It was later discovered that Tatum killed himself before he could be questioned by police.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and D.C. Police released an age progression photo of Relisha that shows what she could look like today.
“We’re always one traffic stop away from solving Relisha Rudd’s case,” Long said. “There’s always that possibility that somebody is out there.”
If you know anything about Relisha’s disappearance or whereabouts, call 202-727-9099.
There is a $50,000 reward for information.