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Extensive search for missing girl continues

The search continues for Relisha Rudd, 8, as police and investigators look for her and the suspect Kahlil Tatum, who is also wanted by the FBI. of Homeless Children's Playtime Project

Park and District police aided with cadets and canine dogs continued their search this morning; a second day of the two-mile stretch covering Kenilworth Park in Northeast D.C. for whereabouts of the missing girl, 8-year-old Relisha Rudd. The young girl was last seen March 1. A press conference was held yesterday by the District’s Police Chief Cathy Lanier at the park, in hopes that the girl is still alive. An FBI representative was also present and gave a statement.

The Relisha Rudd story has reached national attention and was a primary topic yesterday on MSNBC’s 6 p.m. program “PoliticsNation,” hosted by Reverend Al Sharpton. The concerned Sharpton brings many topics like the Rudd example to America’s attention. In telling the Rudd scenario, two guests were on who gave their input on the case; Derrica Wilson, head of the Black and Missing Foundation; and Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak, who has written two articles on Relisha Rudd. The video of the informative discussion is below.

Ms. Dvorak’s insightful last article on Relisha Rudd can be read below.

Chief Lanier informed the press confirming the girl was last seen on March 1 and thanked everyone for their overwhelming support. She stated that the search was “not a rescue operation but a recovery operation.” Lanier also added that there is a possibility the young girl may be dead.

This morning the police chief met with reporters; WUSA9 reported this –

Divers are going through the multiple bodies of water in the park.

Lanier expects the search to take crews through the weekend. If the search extends past the weekend, law enforcement will probably reach out to community groups to aid in the search early next week, says Lanier.

Officers are not only focusing in the park, according to Lanier. They are also following numerous leads and tips.

Questions arose about the date Rudd was last seen following Thursday's press conference. Lanier responded to those concerns on Friday, saying, "We are confident in timeline we produced yesterday."

At the end of each day, Lanier says the MPD will provide an update on any new developments in the search and investigation.

Lanier told reporters on Friday, "We are very hopeful that we will find Relisha alive."

Prince George's County (Md.) police are leading the search for Kahlil Tatum, says Lanier. She described it as a "very aggressive search." At this time, there is no reason to believe Tatum has left the Metro area, according to Lanier. Kahlil Tatum remains on the FBI's Most Wanted list for the murder of his wife in a Prince George's County hotel.

Lanier assured the public that "no stone is going unturned here."

AMBER Alerts have been sent covering the Eastern seaboard along with regulations from Pennsylvania to Florida; Georgia was also covered. The suspect, Kahlil Tatum, 51, according to sources has ties in the Atlanta area. Tatum’s white GMC truck was also found across the District line. On March 2 he made a purchase of contractor trash bags in Washington, D.C. Chief Lanier also reported Tatum was seen from March 2 to March 20, perhaps reporting to work.

Information has been investigated on the girl’s environment which unfortunately was at the D.C. General family homeless shelter, where Tatum was a janitor.

District agencies have known about Rudd’s family since 2007. There have been incidents of physical abuse, filthy living conditions, and lack of food for Relisha and other siblings. Relisha’s grandmother stated the girl suffered from headaches and had a seizure last fall. Tatum may have known the child’s condition and may have used it to his advantage. The mother, Shamika Young, 27, let Tatum take her child to his home on Feb. 26. Relisha hasn’t been seen since.

Tatum is on the FBI list not only for Rudd’s disappearance but also for the murder of his wife. Tatum has a prior police record and is considered armed and dangerous.

Rewards are given for any pertinent information leading to finding the missing girl and Tatum; $25.000 dollars from the FBI, $20,000 from District police, and $25,000 dollars from Prince Georges County Police, altogether a total of $75,000 dollars.

More on Relisha Rudd and the suspect Kahlil Tatum from the Washington Post can be read below.

Pictures of the search can be seen below.

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