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Janitor Sought By Police As Nationwide Search Continues For 8-Year-Old-Girl

The man who took Relisha Rudd bought trash bags and spent significant time at a Washington, D.C., park where police and dogs searched Thursday. The suspect has ties to Atlanta, as well.

Kahlil Malik Tatum. Credit: Prince George's County Police
Kahlil Malik Tatum. Credit: Prince George's County Police
By Deb Belt and Hunt Archbold

Washington, D.C. – Police throughout the East Coast are looking for a 51-year-old janitor who took an 8-year-old girl from a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C.

Authorities were focusing on a park in the capital and on Atlanta because the janitor, 51-year-old Kahil Malik Tatum, had spent long periods in the park and has ties to Georgia. Digital billboards were flashing photos of Tatum and 8-year-old Relisha Tenau Rudd from Pennsylvania to Florida as a nationwide manhunt commenced.

Tatum's wife, Andrea Denise Tatum, 51, was found dead in a hotel room in Maryland last week. A warrant for Tatum's arrest in her murder has been issued and the FBI has added Tatum to its most wanted list. He is considered armed and dangerous.

Rudd was last seen March 1 with Tatum in Washington D. C. Tatum had been given permission to take Rudd by her mother. On March 2, Tatum bought contractor-weight trash bags and spent a considerable amount of time in a park in the District of Columbia area.

Washington D. C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said police still "have not given up hope on finding Relisha alive" but that police cannot ignore the possibility that Tatum "may have killed her."

Tatum was last seen in Washington D.C. on March 22.

He is described as a black man, standing 5-foot-7 and weighing 170 pounds. He has tattoos on his chest and both arms, and a scar on his left arm. He should be considered armed and dangerous.

Relisha Tenau Rudd is described as a black female, standing four feet tall and weighing about 70 to 80 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes, and a medium complexion.

Investigators have traveled to several states in an effort to find Rudd and Tatum. Police will not say where the two were last seen together.

The FBI has announced a reward of up to $70,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Tatum and the location of Rudd. 

The investigation is being conducted jointly by the Metropolitan Police Department, Prince George’s County Police Department and the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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Brenda March 28, 2014 at 06:48 AM
Disgusted, it has happened many times and we read it in the paper where a black mother has leased out her daughters for sex, prostitution just like they are doing. Unless you live like a mushroom in the dark these stories are horrible and far too many these days in areas like this occurred.
Peter Monaghan March 28, 2014 at 08:57 AM
Innocent before proven guilty.
Al Painter March 28, 2014 at 11:21 AM
This is why we need the death penalty
Mary Hall-Ries March 28, 2014 at 12:33 PM
Poor little girl. No one to protect her and living in a homeless shelter. Clearly the "mother" is not even capable of taking care of herself, let alone a child. When a single parent ends up in a shelter, shouldn't child services take a look at the situation? This does not look good, flabby, filthy, tattoos, 5'7" short male in a menial job, probably feels sexually inadequate and angry. If this man has harmed this little girl may all the demons of hell consume him.
Dianne Richardson March 28, 2014 at 01:04 PM
Brenda, please don't generalize. It isn't only Black mothers who sell their daughters into prostitution, it's White mothers as well, and Hispanic, and Asian, etc. I know because I've also seen and read the stories. Furthermore, nowhere in this article does it state that Relisha's mother sold her to Kahil Tatum. Perhaps you have additional information that the rest of us don't. While I, too, question why the mother allowed Tatum to take Relisha, I would like more information before coming to a conclusion. This type of story makes all of us sick. Assumptions and generalizations don't help at all.

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