February 28, 2020
Six years after 8-year-old Relisha Rudd vanished in Washington, D.C., the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has released a new age-progression image for what she may look now at 14.
Meanwhile, Rudd’s community is vowing to continue the search until she’s brought home.
Rudd was last seen on March 1, 2014, and was reported missing to the D.C. police on March 19, 2014, the department said.
Authorities believe Rudd went missing with 51-year-old Kahlil Malik Tatum.
Rudd lived in a Washington, D.C., homeless shelter with her mother and brothers, Natalie Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, Inc., told ABC News on Friday.
Tatum was a janitor at the homeless shelter and was very involved with the 8-year-old, Wilson said.
In March 2014, the FBI said an arrest warrant was issued for Tatum for the murder of his wife, who was found dead in a Maryland motel room on March 20, 2014.
On April 1, 2014, Tatum was found dead in D.C., the FBI said.
Rudd was last seen alive on March 1, 2014, and was last known to be at a D.C. motel with Tatum, according to Wilson.
In March 2014, the FBI released surveillance footage showing Rudd and Tatum at a Holiday Inn Express in D.C. on Feb. 26, 2014.
Though six years have gone by without an arrest or answers, Wilson said she thinks Rudd is still alive.
But, she added, “Sadly, we believe that she is possibly a victim of sex trafficking.”
Wilson says the D.C. community hasn’t forgotten about the missing 8-year-old.
“She is in the hearts and the minds of the D.C. area,” Wilson said, where residents are still “heartbroken” and often ask her what happened.
In 2017, the D.C. police named July 11 as National Relisha Rudd Remembrance Day, reported ABC Washington, D.C., affiliate WJLA.
But by now Rudd “could be anywhere,” Wilson said, urging those across the U.S. to be on the lookout.
The FBI hasn’t received any credible leads in the last few years, Marie-Therese Margand of the FBI Washington Public Affairs Office, told ABC News Friday.
“We believe that someone has information as to the whereabouts of Relisha,” Wilson said. “All we need is one person to come forward.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the D.C. police at (202) 727-9099 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST. You can also submit an anonymous tip to the Black and Missing Foundation at bamfi.org.
Photo credit: NCMEC