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Relisha Rudd, DC Girl Who Vanished From Homeless Shelter, Would Be 14 on Tuesday

Her 14th birthday arrived Tuesday, but Relisha Rudd remains missing.

Relisha was just 8 years old when she disappeared from the D.C. homeless shelter where she lived with her mother and siblings. The little girl, who was last seen with a janitor who worked at the shelter, appeared to have been missing for weeks before officials learned she was gone.

"We will never stop searching for Relisha," a post from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said last year, on her 13th birthday. "If you have information, please call 1-800-THE-LOST."

Both the center and D.C. police have shared an age-progression image of Relisha, showing how she may have looked in 2018.

Relisha was last seen March 1, 2014 at a Northeast D.C. motel with 51-year-old Kahlil Tatum, a janitor at the D.C. General homeless shelter. The little girl's family had allowed her to spend time with Tatum.

Investigators have said Tatum posed as a doctor March 10, 2014, telling city officials who were concerned for her safety that Relisha had a neurological disorder and was undergoing treatment.

When they asked for documents, "Dr. Tatum" said he would leave them at the shelter. Nine days later, officials went to the shelter to pick up the paperwork, but they couldn't find "Dr. Tatum" or Relisha.

Shortly after, a missing persons report was filed with D.C. police.

Relisha had not been seen at school since the month before her disappearance.

Police have said Tatum bought a shovel, lime and contractor-sized trash bags and that he spent a significant amount of time at D.C.'s Kenilworth Park around the time Relisha was last seen. Authorities looked into the possibility that Tatum killed her and buried her body in the park.

But her body has never been found, and no one has been charged in her disappearance.

Tatum's wife, Andrea, was found fatally shot in a Prince George's County motel after Relisha was reported missing. Police announced they had an arrest warrant for Kahlil Tatum in his wife's murder, but he was later found in Kenilworth Park, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In the months that followed, D.C. officials took a deeper look at how they handled her case. A report found that officials couldn't have prevented Relisha's disappearance, citing, in part, misleading information provided by her family.

However, the report did recommend more than two dozen policy changes on matters including how schools deal with unexcused absences, background checks for homeless shelter employees, and fraternization between families and shelter staff.

D.C. General shut down last fall.

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