Renewed Search for Relisha Rudd

This was one of the first stories I covered when I came to WUSA9 in 2014, it was and stlil is a heartbreaking one: The abduction and disappearance of an 8-year-old girl, Relisha Rudd.

Today – more than 2 years since she was last seen, new search began at the US Arboretum.

 The New York Avenue entrance to the Arboretum in NE DC is closed now during the investigation, as dozens of crews fan out for what will no doubt be an extensive and difficult search.

 A team of about 60 people including K9’s, divers, DC Police, representatives with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, are all assisting in the search Wednesday.

Members of the Harbor Branch will dive into a body of water on the property, and although it’s not huge, that could still take time.

Wednesday’s search is thanks to a tip. DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier wouldn’t go into specifics, but says new information coming out, even 25 months after Relisha’s disappearance, isn’t unusual.

“It’s not uncommon for people to provide information that they’ve had for long periods of time that they didn’t provide initially,” says Chief Lanier.

It’s been more than 2 years since Relisha Rudd disappeared from from DC General the homeless shelter where she and her family were living. At the time, she was 8-years-old. Relisha’s alleged abductor, Kahlil Tatum, was the janitor at DC General. Tatum was found dead in a park a month later.

Since then, crews have been searching throughout the city, Kenilworth Park, the Botanical Gardens and most recently a construction site in NE in December. Now, less than a half a mile away from their last search location, a new hope for finding Relisha.

Relisha’s family was not at the search, only officials were allowed to participate. But Relisha’s grandmother told me she is hoping for good news, that crews will find her grand baby and bring her home. She also say she believes Relisha is still alive and she’s trying to remain positive.

Police say they hope the public will continue to send in tips to help find Relisha.


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