‘Relisha Rudd Law' Would Punish Parents Who Don't Report Missing Children

As the search for Relisha Rudd continues more than two years after the child disappeared, two D.C. Council Members introduced a bill that would punish parents who do not tell police their children are missing. 

D.C. Council Members Jack Evans and LaRuby May co-introduced on Tuesday the Requirement to Report Missing Children Amendment Act of 2016.

The bill would require the parent or guardian of a child who goes missing to contact police within 24 hours of when they "knew or should have known" the minor was missing while in their custody. If a minor age 13 to 18 goes missing, parents or guardians would have 48 hours under the bill to contact police.

Parents in violation of the law or who provide false information to police with the intent to mislead the investigation could be charged with a misdemeanor. 

Rudd was last seen March 1, 2014 with Kahlil Tatum, a janitor at the homeless shelter at D.C. General, where Rudd was living with her mother and siblings. Rudd's mother, Shamika Young, knew the 8-year-old girl had been with Tatum. Police were not notified until March 19 that Rudd was missing. A counselor at her elementary school contacted the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency.

Young spoke with News4 weeks after her daughter's disappearance about why she did not contact police.

"I wasn't under the impression she was missing. I thought she was at my sister's house," Young said. "I didn't want to lose my other three kids. That's why I didn't call the police."

The bill introduced by Evans and May, dubbed the "Relisha Rudd law" by some, was referred to the D.C. Council Judiciary Committee.

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