The title of the special half-hour program “Who Failed Relisha” gave a rundown since the disappearance of the eight-year-old girl. The program also showed an interview with Relisha’s mother, Shamika Young, with anchor Jan Jeffcoat. Questions and comments on Facebook and Twitter were encouraged by television viewers.
The newscast followed up on the District’s Police Chief Cathy Lanier in her regret that the Rudd investigation started too late. The timeline issue was critical. Quotes from what Lanier initially stated were shown about the AMBER Alert going up and down the eastern seaboard did not actually happen. The AMBER Alert was only activated in D.C. A procedure called MNET was supposed to take place. The topic of sex trafficking was discussed; since Relisha could not be found in Kenilworth Park, perhaps was sold for sex. Before commercials came on in the program, pictures of missing eight-year-olds were shown. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (www.missingkids.com) is also involved in finding Relisha Rudd.
Videos were presented of Relisha playing at the D.C. General Family Homeless Shelter and her now dead abductor, Kahlil Tatum, in a hallway walking together on Feb. 26. It was also revealed that Tatum bought Relisha a swimsuit and that her grandmother (who was also on the program being interviewed) saw Relisha on Instagram.
It is very hard to understand how a family would allow this to happen. D.C. news station WJLA7 wrote this –
Meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has ordered two deputy mayors to conduct a review of the case of missing eight-year-old Rudd, and discussed on Wednesday the D.C. General Family Homeless Shelter, where Rudd was residing when she disappeared.
"It is not a place that a child should be raised, clearly," he said.
And while Gray is ordering a review of city agencies to see if anything could have been done differently to prevent this, he said the child’s family has to bear some of the blame:
"Remember, parents have a responsibility also, and the parents -- the mother and the grandmother -- certainly played a role in this."
However, social worker Danielle Rothman with the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project insists we shouldn’t be so quick to judge Relisha’s mother.
In early March, Tatum never brought Relisha back after a visit, and her mother did not report her missing. It was a school counselor who realized and reported the girl’s disappearance, and Lanier says that this time lapse was critical:
"What really hurt us is not even becoming aware of her being missing until three or four weeks from the last time she was seen...that's really a killer."
Relisha’s grandmother further stated the more Tatum did, the more the family (including the mother) trusted him. Tatum was a skilled child predator, giving Relisha and other children at the shelter $20 dollar bills and gifts.
Relisha hated the shelter but loved dancing. The young girl would often be in filthy clothes, her hair dirty and hungry from an empty stomach.
Relisha’s mother, Shamika Young, in the interview with Jeffcoat showed no signs of remorse, regret or tears for her daughter. Young blamed everyone else for Relisha’s upbringing; the media, government, etc. anything or anyone else but her. She claimed she is being threatened. She did not attend the community walks or vigils given for her missing daughter.
Young also has three other siblings in the shelter. How are they being treated? It is obvious the woman has issues she brought on herself. She refuses to take responsibility that unfortunately has made her an inadequate parent.