One Year Later, No Trace of Missing D.C. Girl Relisha Rudd

D.C. officials are holding out hope for a missing puzzle piece, a year after 8-year-old Relisha Rudd disappeared.

Sunday, a prayer service was held at Mt. Paran Baptist Church in Southeast D.C. in honor of the young girl.

Relisha was last seen on March 1, 2014 in the company of Kahlil Tatum, a janitor at the homeless shelter where she lived with her mother and siblings. The girl's family had allowed her to spend time with Tatum. After Relisha was reported missing, the body of Tatum's wife was found in a motel, and Tatum was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a park in northeast Washington.

"It's even more tragic today that we don't know the whereabouts of Relisha Rudd," D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

Authorities have not been able to find Relisha despite extensive searching. She would have turned nine on Oct. 29.

"Sometimes it's just once piece of the puzzle that helps us get to the solution that we're looking for ... to find Relisha," D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said. 

In a news conference Monday, Lanier, Bowser and other city leaders maintained conditions at D.C. General homeless shelter have improved since Relisha's disappearance. Police said they have added 24-hour security, fixed broken surveillance cameras and repaired the heating and air conditioning.

"We're doing absolutely everything we can to make it a space that is a dignified environment to be while they experience homelessness and is a safe place to be," Laura Zeilinger with the D.C. Department of Human Services said.

No one has been charged in Relisha's disappearance. 

"All the information that we have uncovered in the course of this investigation about anybody who was in care or support or custody of Relisha, all that information has been turned over to the U.S. Attorney's Office," Lanier said.

When asked about Lanier's statement, a representative with the U.S. Attorney's office told News4, "The investigation is continuing. Because it is pending we have no further comment at this time."

A $25,000 reward remains for information that leads to Relisha's return.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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