D.C. police continue to search for missing 8-year-old Relisha Rudd who authorities believe was taken by Kahlil Malik Tatum; an Amber Alert has been issued.

Rudd was officially reported as a missing person on Wednesday, March 19, but it is unclear when exactly Rudd went missing. According to reports, Relisha’s mother, Shamika Young, put Relisha in Tatum’s care. Tatum works as a shelter janitor at the D.C. General shelter where Young lives and was a friend of the family. According to family members, Relisha was put in Tatum’s care on Feb. 26, but no details have been released as to where Relisha had been living between then and when she was reported missing. Her family is still living at the shelter where they met Tatum.

Relisha’s paternal grandmother, Belinda Wheeler, said that Tatum doted on Relisha and brought her “a lot of gifts… This Mr. Tatum was a friend of the family…. He was trying to be Relisha’s godfather.

Young did not realize her daughter was missing at all until she was notified by social workers – the school notifies social workers after a certain number of unexcused absences. However, Young did report to the police that when she had met with Tatum to ask him to return her daughter, he had promised he would return with Relisha, but never did.

On Thursday, March 20, police tracked down Tatum’s possible whereabouts to the Red Roof Inn where they found the body of Tatum’s wife, Andrea Tatum. The police has not released details about Andrea Tatum’s death, but Tatum has now been charged with the murder of his wife.

The police canvased the motel, knocking on every door, but no guests recalled seeing a little girl. The investigation is ongoing, but authorities are rumored to be very frustrated with the case after receiving varying accounts of the event from Young and other close family members.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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