MPD Chief Cathy Lanier spoke with reporters outside the Kennilworth Aquatic Gardens Thursday afternoon, where police were searching for signs of missing eight-year-old Relisha Tenau Rudd.
Lanier was fearful that the child may be dead.
“While this current operation in the Aquatic Gardens is best described as a recovery mission, we have not given up that we may still find Relisha alive,” she said.
Lanier said Rudd was last seen on March 1. She was with Kahlil Tatum with her mother’s permission. Tatum was seen several times after March 1, but has not been seen since March 20, when his wife was found killed in Prince George’s County. A warrant for first-degree murder has been issued for Tatum in connection with his wife’s death.
Lanier said police are pursuing many leads, among them the search of the Kennilworth Aquatic Park. Lanier said Tatum was seen in the area of the park on March 2, the same day he bought black 42-gallon contractors’ trash bags.
Earlier this week, the FBI released a video of Tatum with Rudd and asked the public’s help in locating the two.
At D.C. General Wednesday, teams of police cadets searched the grounds and eventually inside the homeless shelter where Relisha Rudd lived with her family. Rudd was last seen on Feb. 26 and is believed to be with Khalil Tatum.
“They’re doing a door-to-door canvas to try to see if they can locate any witnesses that we have not yet interviewed,” says Cmrd. Danny Hickson of the Metropolitan Police Department Youth Investigation Division.
On Wednesday, D.C. officials announced that Tatum had posed as Relisha’s doctor, taking calls from her elementary school teacher and telling them the little girl was sick. Officials familiar with the investigation say Rudd’s mother, grandmother and Tatum were all working together in an effort to fool teachers and administrators at Payne Elementary School into believing the 8-year-old was not coming to school because she was sick.
“He basically assured the school the child had been ill and gave some detailed information around that,” said Bebe Otero, the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.