Update 06/09/2014: Sunday marked 100 days since Relisha Rudd, a homeless 8-year-old from Washington, D.C, went missing. Her suspected kidnapper, a custodian at the shelter where Relisha lived, was found dead a month later, police believe by his own hand. Before that, police discovered the body of his wife in a hotel. But the fate of Relisha remains unknown.
The failure of Relisha’s shelter to notice warning signs, and the strange conduct of her mother and stepdad, captured national attention. And while the active search for Relisha is long over, many are still fighting to understand what truly happened, and what needs to be done to prevent another homeless child from falling prey.
Tonight, Lori Jane Gliha follows the original search route with leaders from the Black and Missing Foundation, which has expressed concerns that Relisha may have been trafficked. Gliha also reports on what’s changed at Relisha’s shelter, and what reforms community leaders think the system badly needs. Tune in to her report tonight at 9p.m.
Melissa Young clutched a collection of new pink and blue dresses.
“This one says, ‘Hope’,” she said, pointing at the glittery word written on the chest of the little girls’ garment. “With all this going on – I bought this outfit for Relisha because that’s what I walk around with: hope.”
Young doesn’t know if her granddaughter will ever have a chance to wear the new clothes. But she’s keeping them as a reminder of 8-year-old Relisha Rudd, who disappeared March 1, 2014.
Last week, police called off a days-long search for Relisha in a 700-acre park on Washington, D.C.’s northeast side, where the girl’s suspected kidnapper, Kahlil Tatum, 52, spent a significant period of time shortly after she went missing.
In one case, a residential monitor was fired for failing to disclose a prior relationship with a current resident. The records show the staff member “made inappropriate advance which resident reported to Deputy Director.” Another case involved an administrator who was fired four days after a resident revealed the person kept inappropriate photographs of another resident on a cell phone.