Five Years Later: Relisha Rudd Remembrance Day

July 11 is Relisha Rudd Remembrance Day, when District residents remember the 8-year-old girl who went missing from Northeast D.C. more than five years ago.

Rudd disappeared from the D.C. General homeless shelter and was reported missing in March 2014. She was last seen on surveillance footage at a motel with Kahlil Tatum, the man suspected of kidnapping her.

Tatum, 51 in 2014, was a janitor at the homeless shelter when Rudd went missing. Rudd's family had allowed her to spend time with Tatum before her disappearance. Rudd hadn't shown up for school in for almost a month before officials knew she was gone.

D.C. police said they won't stop searching for Rudd until her case is closed.

Tatum purchased a shovel, lime and contractor-sized trash bags and spent a significant amount of time at the park around the time that Rudd was last seen, police said. They have investigated the possibility that Tatum killed Rudd and buried her body there.

Tatum was eventually found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Kenilworth Park.

Officers have searched multiple sites in the past five years. In 2016, the Metropolitan Police Department worked with other agencies and renewed their search in the National Arboretum. In early 2018, dive teams combed the water of the Anacostia River to try and find Rudd. In December 2018, they searched tunnels under the D.C. General homeless shelter.

None of the searches led to the girl's discovery. Rudd still has not been found, and no one has been charged in her disappearance.

D.C. officials internally investigated how they handled Rudd's case after she went missing. Their report stated that they could not have prevented her disappearance.

Mayor Muriel Bowser in 2018 closed D.C. General, the shelter where Rudd had been living. 

In 2018, investigators released an age-processed image of how Rudd might look at age 12. She would be 13 years old this year.

In her honor, D.C. police and volunteers plan to pass out fliers on Thursday.

CORRECTION (Oct. 29, 2019, 1:40 p.m.): This story previously had transposed two letters in Kahlil Tatum's name. It has been updated with the correct spelling.

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