Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier called the end to an exhaustive, week-long search today at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens for missing 8-year-old Relisha Rudd “bittersweet.” While the fact that police didn’t find her body there leaves hope that she is still alive, police still have no clues where Relisha could be.
“It is heart-wrenchingly frustrating that we don’t have answers to where she is,” Lanier said at a press conference today at the park. “We just don’t.”
Lanier said officials came to the park expecting the worst and had strong evidence suggesting they would recover Relisha’s body at the park. Instead, they found the body of Kahlil Tatum—-the man last seen with Relisha. Tatum died from an apparent self-inflicted gun-shot wound.
“We have not turned up anything that has answered any questions for us,”she said. “The one person that I think could have given us the best answers, Mr. Tatum, can’t give us those answers.”
Officials, according to Lanier, will soon release photos of people they are hoping to talk to in connection with the case.
Tatum worked as a janitor at the homeless shelter where Relisha lives with her mother. Relisha was last seen with Tatum in D.C. on March 1. On March 2, police say, Tatum purchased large trash bags and was spotted at Kenilworth Park soon after. On March 20, the dead body of Tatum’s wife was found in a hotel room in Oxon Hill during the search for Relisha.
Lanier said today that the very late start to the search for Relisha has made it hard for the police to play catch-up. No one initially reported Relisha missing, and police did not become involved in the case until March 19.
Photo via FBI