One day after the FBI said an accused killer and a missing 8-year-old girl could be in the Atlanta area, police in Washington, D.C., said the girl could be dead.
A search of a park for Relisha Tenau Rudd is a "recovery operation," although District of Columbia police haven't given up hope of finding the child alive, Chief Cathy Lanier said Thursday.
Relisha was last seen March 1 in the care of a janitor, Kahlil Malik Tatum, at the homeless shelter where she lived with her family, according to media reports. Relisha's family did not report her missing, but investigators began looking for the girl after her school reported her numerous absences.
The day after the search began for Relisha, Tatums' wife, 51-year-old wife, Andrea Tatum, was found dead inside a D.C. hotel room. Kahlil Tatum, 51, has been charged with murder for the death of his wife, who was found March 20, according to police.
The FBI said Wednesday that Kahlil Tatum, charged Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, could be traveling with Relisha. Investigators believe the suspect has ties to the Atlanta area. They did not release information on the suspect's connection to the missing girl.
Tatum is a black man, 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds, according to police. He has tattoos on his chest and both arms, including a distinctive tattoo on his left upper arm. He has a scar on his left arm. He also may wear eyeglasses. He should be considered armed and dangerous.
Relisha is an 8-year-old black girl who is 4 feet tall, weighs between 70 to 80 pounds, and has brown hair and brown eyes, police said.
Anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of Tatum or Relisha is asked to call 911 or contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI. A reward of up to $70,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Tatum and the location of Relisha, the FBI said.
The FBI Baltimore and Washington Field Offices, Prince George's County (MD) Police Department and the Metropolitan Police Department are investigating the case.
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