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Mayor Gray expresses deep concern over missing DC child Relisha Rudd

Mayor Gray expresses concern over missing DC child Relisha Rudd
Photo by Professor Metze

Today Mayor Vincent Gray reiterated his deep concern over the disappearance of Relisha Rudd, an 8-year-old whose family resides at the D.C. General shelter, who has been missing for weeks. Although this case remains primarily a law-enforcement matter, Gray vowed to ensure a thorough review of the actions of all District government agencies that had contact with the girl prior to her abduction.

“I continue to be distressed over the fact that Relisha Rudd remains missing, and my thoughts and prayers remain with her family and loved ones. While there is no indication that District government agencies or staff failed to fulfill their duties, I will make sure that the District government responded to the facts of this case in a way that was both appropriate and responsible. With that in mind, I've directed Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services BB Otero and Deputy Mayor for Education Abigail Smith to conduct a complete review of all the facts in this matter and to make recommendations if any reforms to the District’s policies and practices are warranted,” Gray said.

The search for the missing District of Columbia child who vanished on March 19, 2014 from a District of Columbia Homeless Shelter has created one of the most extensive searches for a missing child this reporter has witnessed since becoming a metropolitan daily newspaper reporter in 1980. The entire nation was concerned about saving Baby Jessica in 1987.

The search and rescue of Baby Jessica brought an entire nation together and gave the world a glimpse of how American service organizations can work together for a common good. On April 2, 2014, the area where the man who was believed to have kidnapped the child was literally covered with MPD officers as they searched the area looking for the missing child. A neighbor in the area said the man who was found dead was located across the street from his home and the police have been searching around the clock to find the missing child.

It is tragic that the missing child has not been found after two weeks but strong police presence on April 2, 2014, is an indication that the city has not given up on finding the missing child. In returning to Petworth after following the search around the city, the writer observed the sign that is featured with this article. The idea of placing the missing child sign on the Metro bus stalls with large letters and lighted backgrounds is a brilliant method of alerting the public to look for the child.

The FBI has provided the telephone number 202-278-2000 for any person with information about the missing child. The concern the community has shown to find the child is an indication that Washington is a city that has not succumbed to the Diffusion of Responsibility that has led many people to turn their backs on the crisis of the homeless in the District. Helping the homeless in the District of Columbia is not just a problem for the police or politicians. Every responsible citizen has a civic duty to help when possible. If every resident in the District of Columbia makes finding this child their priority she will be found. The FBI told the present writer that they are only seeking information pertaining to finding the child. The callers need not fear any other involvement than finding an innocent child. Please contact the FBI if any information on the child is available at this email address:

“In addition, my administration is committed to moving as many families out of the D.C. General shelter as quickly as possible through our 500 families, 100 Days initiative, and I've also asked Deputy Mayor Otero and Department of Human Services Director David Berns to develop a plan to close the D.C. General shelter and provide alternative emergency shelter options for District families. We must continue to do everything in our power to protect the District’s most vulnerable children,” Gray said.

There is nothing more important than a child. All District of Columbia residents are asked to be on alert to help find Relisha Rudd.

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