In Search For Missing 8-Year-Old, A Grim Turn | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

In Search For Missing 8-Year-Old, A Grim Turn

Washington, D.C., police chief Cathy L. Lanier said Thursday the search for Relisha Rudd, a missing 8-year-old girl, "may be best described as a recovery operation." Lanier's comments suggest authorities fear she is no longer alive.

Earlier this week, the FBI released a Feb. 26 surveillance video showing Relisha and Kahlil Malik Tatum, a 51-year-old janitor at the homeless shelter where Relisha's family lived, in the hallway of a local hotel. Neither one has been seen since.

Relisha went missing from the Washington shelter last month. Her mother, Shamika Young, says she left her daughter in the care of Tatum.

Officials at Relisha's school contacted Young after the girl missed more than 30 days of school. The mother told school officials her daughter was out sick, and the absences had been excused by a "Dr. Tatum."

A counselor at the school referred the case to a social worker at the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency. The social worker arranged to meet "Dr. Tatum" at the homeless shelter and discovered he was a janitor. That same day, March 19, local police initiated a missing-person investigation when Young could not account for her daughter's whereabouts.

Tatum's wife, Andrea Tatum, was found dead in a hotel room the following morning, and police then launched a manhunt spanning several states.

USA Today reported earlier this week that the Amber Alert, which blasts out to mobile phones and pre-empts television and radio broadcasts when a child goes missing, never went out in nearby states during the early days of the investigation, although local police insist that it did. State police in Virginia and Maryland told the paper they were never asked by the Washington, D.C., police to issue the alert.

Young has repeatedly said she last spoke to her daughter by cellphone on March 17. She told WTTG-TV that her other children have been removed from her custody.

The Washington Post reported that "a grand jury has been empaneled to investigate possible obstruction of justice charges against [Young]."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

How Tinseltown Got Tipsy: A Boozy Taste Of Hollywood History

Mark Bailey, who detailed old Hollywood's legendary love affair with liquor in his book Of All the Gin Joints, shares stories from a bygone era over cocktails at a legendary Hollywood bar.
NPR

Want To Enhance The Flavor Of Your Food? Put On The Right Music

Researchers at the University of Oxford have discovered a link between what you taste and what you hear.
NPR

North Korea Has An Interesting Offer. And Another Threat

The secretive regime denies any involvement with the Sony Pictures hack and says the U.S. must allow it to help find the real culprit. Or else.
NPR

Hollywood Pros Fear A Chilling Effect After Sony Bows To Hackers

Some in the entertainment industry are wondering if they'll have to be careful now about the stories they tell or the jokes they make in the wake of Sony's withdrawal of The Interview.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.