Relisha Rudd: Body of Man Suspected in Girl's Disappearance Found in DC

Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 04:57 PM

By Jonna Lorenz

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The body of Kahlil Tatum, a 51-year-old janitor suspected in the disappearance of 8-year-old Relisha Rudd, was found Monday in a Washington, D.C., park.

“We did confirm the identity of the body that was found yesterday afternoon as that of Mr. Tatum. We did confirm that the manner of death was suicide,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said during a news conference broadcast by Fox 5 on Tuesday afternoon.

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Lanier said the body had been in the park for 36 hours to several days.

Tatum died of an apparent gunshot wound, according to NBC Washington.

Relisha has been missing since March 1, when she was last seen with Tatum, who worked at the homeless shelter where she lived, according to NBC Washington. Tatum’s wife, Andrea, was found shot to death on March 20.

Police focused their search for Relisha on the 700-acre Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens after discovering that Tatum bought large trash bags and spent time in the park, according to the report. He also is said to have bought a shovel and lime.

Lanier said on Tuesday that about 200 people are searching the area, including divers and dogs. The search is expected to continue for another day or two.

Family members trusted Tatum and allowed him to take Relisha on outings, according to The Washington Post.

Relisha’s mother, Shamika Young, didn’t report her daughter missing, and school officials said her absences were excused by notes from a “Dr. Tatum,” The Washington Post reported. A school social worker contacted police on March 19, after going to the homeless shelter and discovering there was no “Dr. Tatum.”

Tatum was added to the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list last week.

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