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Top cop says search for missing Relisha Rudd now a ‘recovery mission’

Police are continuing their desperate search for missing 8-year-old Relisha Tenau Rudd, who has been missing since Feb. 26 when Kahlil Malik Tatum, 51, reportedly spirited her away from the Washington, D.C. homeless shelter where she was staying with mother and stepfather.

Washington, D.C.’s Police Chief said the girl is likely dead after her alleged abductor was seen buying trash bags and spending time in a local park
Kahlil Malik Tatum and Relisha Tenau Rudd / missingkids

On March 27, police were searching a park in northeast Washington after reports came in saying that Tatum had been spotted in the area early yesterday morning, according to The Daily News.

Investigators are still searching through that park today.

Tatum is also wanted for the murder of his wife, who was found shot to death in a Maryland motel.

The city's police chief said the girl is likely dead after Tatum was seen buying trash bags and spending time in the park.

Immediately after police discovered Tatum’s wife’s murdered body on March 20, an Amber Alert was issued for the missing Rudd, and an arrest warrant issued for Tatum. Tatum has been charged with killing his wife, Andrea Tatum, and is also charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

On March 26, Tatum was added to the FBI's Most Wanted List.

Tatum worked as a janitor at the homeless shelter where Rudd and her parents were staying. And now police are afraid that Tatum may have already killed the child. While searching the park yesterday, Washington’s police chief described the search as a “recovery mission.”

After a tipster phoned police to say that Tatum was spotted in that D.C. park, police searched the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the Kenilworth-Parkside Community Center and Park in the northeast section of Washington.

“We cannot ignore the possibility that he may have killed her,” Washington’s Police Chief Cathy Lanier said yesterday.

Police say that Tatum should be considered armed and dangerous.

On March 25, the FBI released a surveillance video showing Tatum and Rudd taken on February 26 inside the Holiday Inn Express located at 1917 Bladensburg Road NE, Washington, D.C.

The video shows Tatum and Rudd walking down a hallway in the hotel. Rudd is wearing a pair of pink boots and a purple Helly Hansen brand jacket with white stripes. The public is being asked to view the video and to contact law enforcement if they have seen either individual.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the location and return of the missing 8-year-old.

Anyone with any information regarding the case is asked to contact the Metropolitan Police Department at (202) 727-9099.

For more on the search for missing Relisha Rudd, see the video accompanying this article.

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