DC Police Launch Fresh Search For Little Girl Who Vanished 2 Years Ago

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Police in Washington, D.C., launched a search Wednesday for evidence related to the disappearance of 8-year-old Relisha Rudd. She vanished in 2014 after last being seen with a homeless shelter  janitor who later killed his wife and himself.

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said authorities will search the grounds of the National Arboretum and a body of water nearby. Since Rudd went missing March 1, 2014, police have launched multiple search operations with K-9 units, including the park where the janitor spent time, but never made headway in the case. The most recent effort launched in December when the Metropolitan Police Department and federal agents spent the day searching a construction site based on a tip to no avail, reports NBC Washington.

“A search will begin this morning and go through end of day tomorrow,” Lanier said at a press conference Wednesday morning. “It’s not a large body of water, but it will take the divers some time to get through it.”

Rudd lived in a local D.C. homeless shelter with her mother and siblings. The janitor, a 51-year-old name Kahlil Tatum, apparently befriended Rudd, whose family allowed the her to spend time with him. Rudd was missing for weeks before anyone, including it seems her family, took notice. Officials at Payne Elementary School said she didn’t show up for school for over a month, but a missing persons report was not filed until after many weeks passed, reports WJLA.

Rudd was last seen in the company of Tatum before she disappeared. Police found Andrea Denise Tatum, the janitor’s wife, dead in a Maryland motel just a day after the missing persons report was filed for Rudd. Police found Tatum dead with a gunshot wound to the head, several days after discovering his wife. Tatum left nothing behind hinting at the fate of Rudd, and no one has ever been charged in the disturbing case.

Metropolitan Police say around the time of Rudd’s disappearance, Tatum purchased a shovel, large trash bags and spent a lot of time in Kenilworth Park. Kenilworth Park would later be searched thoroughly by police with no discoveries.

Lanier said their current search efforts are based on information given to investigators over the course of the continued investigation into her disappearance. Lanier added police will not give up and keep pursuing any information which helps them close this case.

Lanier said, “We’re going to continue to follow up on any information we receive that may lead us to other search areas.”

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