Police Continue Search For Relisha Rudd, Who Was 8 When She Vanished In 2014
‘I have days when I think she's alive. I have days when I think she's no longer with us,’ says Henderson Long of D.C.’s Missing Voices.
Authorities are still looking for an 8-year-old girl who disappeared from a homeless shelter in Washington D.C. over seven years ago.
Relisha Rudd was last seen on March 1, 2014, when she appeared with 51-year-old janitor Kahlil Tatum on surveillance video at D.C. General Shelter, where he worked and her family was staying.
Loved ones reportedly initially weren’t concerned and thought the little girl was with Tatum, who had become a family friend, according to radio station WAMU.
Rudd was finally reported missing when her school notified authorities weeks later.
“Between March 1 and March 18, no AMBER Alert was sounded for Relisha Rudd — no national alert went out for her,” Henderson Long of D.C.’s Missing Voices recently told television station WUSA, noting that it was “a long time for a child to be unaccounted for.”
The day investigators publicly appealed for information on Rudd’s whereabouts, police discovered Andrea Kelly — Tatum’s wife — shot dead in a hotel room the couple shared.
On April 1, 2014, Tatum was also found fatally shot in Washington D.C.’s Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens in what was reported to be a suicide.
Rudd has never been located and would now be a teenager.
“I have days when I think she's alive. I have days when I think she's no longer with us,” admitted Long, who has vowed to never give up searching for the child he’s said is on his mind “every day.”
Long isn’t the only one who believes there’s still some hope Rudd could be found alive.
S. Monique Person was abducted as a child and discovered 25 years ago that she had been given a fake identity. “Since 1996, I've taken all of my time invested in trying to find myself, but over the years I'm discovering there are so many more cases,” Person told WUSA. “There's a population of missing children that no one's thinking of.”
Person has urged authorities to continue investigating what happened to Rudd despite so many years passing.
“I'm standing here alive today to tell people to have hope, don't stop looking, to never give up looking for us,” she said. “Because we're here.”
Law enforcement officials have offered a $50,000 reward for information on the case. If you know anything about Relisha Rudd’s disappearance or whereabouts, call 202-727-9099.
For more details on this case, stream “Through The Cracks,” a podcast from WAMU and PRX.