Please note, like all the articles, this story is running backwards. To read the full story in order please go towards the body of this article and find “previous story.”
UPDATE: 9/5/14 – A city report states that poor communication between different District agencies led to “ tragic mistakes in the case of Relisha Rudd, with officials failing to act because they wrongly assumed others had.”
The Washington Post reports that Smith, the deputy mayor, said that none of the professionals who failed to make a report was singled out for discipline or firing, but they will receive additional training.
D.C. Council member Jim Graham, head of the committee tasked with overseeing the shelter, said about the report was that it was “a sorry and terribly tragic tale of government failure. I am totally baffled by the report’s conclusion that ‘no justifiable government actions would have prevented Relisha’s tragic disappearance.’ I think it is now obvious that much more could have been done to protect this vulnerable child.”
But, let’s not forget that not much was done after she went missing either. The Chief of police was slow on responding, and did not notify other agencies that she was missing, but then lied to the media and told them she had. With Chief Lanier calling it“glitches.” (read more below)
UPDATE: 4/10/14 – I am very happy to hear that Mayor Vincent Gray has announced he wants a full review of how the city has handled this case and wants the shelter where Relisha lived to be closed down. This case was NOT handled properly in the beginning and there are some officials that need to explain why not.
“I’ve asked them (two deputy mayors) to lead an effort to look extensively and thoroughly at how all of the events unfolded,” said Mayor Gray.
UPDATE: 4/9/14 – The police announced they have found the man they were looking for in the released video. They have interviewed him and he is cooperating but the authorities have not stated what the connection to him and Relisha may be. In the meantime, whatever happened to Rickie Sheridan Lyles? Or was the person that the police were looking for in the released video?
UPDATE: 4/4/14 – Contradictory to what D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier thinks, Derrica Wilson, a former police officer and the founder of the Black and Missing Foundation that has been assisting the Metropolitan Police Dept. in their search for Relish Rudd, has the opposite thought. Wilson believes that Relisha Rudd is still alive and could have been sold.
“I’m pulling at everything in me and there’s nothing in my gut that tells me we’re in a recovery operation. I feel that we’re searching for a live person,” Wilson told West Coast news.
Wilson believe that Relisha’s mother sold her to Tatum and he sold her to a trafficking operation. Relishia’s mom was allegedly showing people a large sum of money she had just before Relisha went missing, but her mom says she got it from a settlement from an accident.
If Wilson’s hunch is true, then we cannot assume she is dead and we must keep searching for her. She could be anywhere at this time.
Although it may seem a strange request, I am hoping someone out there that does frequent the type of pornographic websites that are nestled deep into the layers of the web, consider anonymously notifying an advocate or this website if they come across Relisha in a photo or video.
In the past, I have received such anonymous tips and it has ended with recoveries of missing people held against their will. Those tipsters remained anonymous as I only passed the information about the MP and not the tipsters information. Please consider this if you run across any information about Relisha or see a child you believe may be her and know that your identity will not be released.
Also, the public should consider that Relisha could be a child at a truck stop or motel room and her hair could have been changed and she could even be dressed as a boy.
In the meantime the Metropolitan police want to talk with this guy they say may have information where Relisha is. (This person has been found, see notation above).
UPDATE: 3/31/14 – Police Chief Cathy Lanier said a body has been found in a D.C. park who they are saying is the body of Kahlil Tatum. Tattoo’s on the body led to this assumption. The death is probably suicide. Officials cautioned they had not yet positively identified the body Relisha is still missing.
UPDATE 3/28/14 – Russ reported today that the police chief acknowledged today that they did not activate an Amber Alert in other states but they gave them the information.
This is what Lanier said:
“I only have the authority to issue an Amber Alert within my own jurisdiction,” acknowledged Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier in a news conference Thursday. “As soon as that Amber Alert is issued in that jurisdiction we make a request through Emergency Management that that Amber Alert that we issued here in Washington DC be pushed out through M-NET which is an emergency network across the county.”
Right. That’s the whole point. You never did that. You never made a request through EM. Why did you say you did, but you didn’t.
Per WUSA9, “Monday MPD denied the results of a WUSA9 investigation that found Amber Alerts were delayed to cellular providers and not extended beyond the District.”
If you remember, on Monday Lanier stated, when she was told the AMBER Alert had not been issued in other states, “That is not true. Actually I looked into that when I got the allegation. The AMBER Alert was issued as far north as Pennsylvania and Delaware and as far south as Florida.”
So, did you or did you not?
It looks as those those “glitches” Lanier described on Monday were no more than lack of protocol.
UPDATE 3/26/14 – Russ Ptacek, known for his reporting on the Missing Baby Lisa case in Kansas City for KSHB-TV, is digging into the case of missing Relisha. Russ is working for WUSA in Wash DC now and he wanted to know why there was a delay getting the word out that Relisha was missing. He also wanted to know about the AMBER Alert activation.
Metropolitan Police Chief Kathy Lanier said during a news conference on Monday that AMBER Alerts were sent to states “as far north as Pennsylvania and Delaware and as far south as Florida,” reported Ptacek.
But, evidently the other states didn’t know about that. Lanier was told that other states never received word to activate an AMBER Alert for Relisha, and she responded that it was not true.
“Actually I looked into that when I got the allegation,” said Lanier.
But, what Lanier said needed verifying by WUSA-TV reporters, so they went to the Pennsylvania, Delaware and Florida officials and asked them. Their response? They never received a request from Wash DC police.
The police in North Carolina, South Carolina, and New York also said that they never activated an Amber Alert for Relisha, either.
Maryland and Virginia police went even further and said they reached out to Washington police and volunteered their help, but they never were asked to activate their AMBER Alert.
We have it plain and simple, through WUSA’s investigation that Washington DC police never contacted anyone outside their own area to help and/or activate an AMBER Alert.
So what is the criteria that must be met to have one activated:
- Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place
- The child is at risk of serious injury or death
- There is sufficient descriptive information of child, captor, or captor’s vehicle to issue an alert
- The child must be 17 years old or younger
- It is recommended that immediate entry of AMBER Alert data be entered in FBI’s National Crime Information Center. Text information describing the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the child should be entered, and the case flagged as Child Abduction.
Then law enforcement issues an AMBER Alert and notifies broadcasters and state transportation officials. AMBER Alerts are allowed to interrupt regular programming and broadcast on radio and television and on highway signs. Law enforcement has informal agreements to be able to call another state and ask them to issue an alert. In other words, one state only needs to call another state to get them to activate their highway signs, and notify the media. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) web site comes in to play as they serve as the clearinghouse of information about missing and exploited children.
We do know that the above was done in Wash DC, and according to media reports none was done in any other states, and in fact, we are still waiting to see if it WILL be activated in other states.
So, why is Lanier saying that it was done and the law enforcement in other states saying it was not done? Was it because the Wash DC police actually called and requested activation from these other states and they simple did not answer the phone call or ignored the request? That is highly unlikely.
Lanier still believes her department under her lead is irreproachable for their actions as far as Relisha is concerned and stated: “I think we’ve done due diligence with these AMBER Alerts,” she said. “If there’s some glitches somewhere, we can look at those once we find her.”
Frankly, I think she can start by asking other police authorities in other states to activate their AMBER Alert now. Because if they can’t think to remember to ask for an AMBER alert to be activated in another state, if there are “glitches somewhere,” as Lanier put it, they need to fix what they didn’t do in the first place AND get investigative help. Thank goodness the FBI is on the case, now.
Also, new information has come out that Relisha showed up at her school where she had been absent for several weeks. Some school chums and the staff asked her where she had been and she said she was sick. The staff said they needed a note from a doc and her mom gave them one signed by a Dr. Tatum. School officials called the phone number on the note and asked “Dr. Tatum” who is probably he same person that Relisha is suspected to be with, if he would fill out some forms. Dr. Tatum told them to drop them off at the homeless shelter, but when they got there they couldn’t find anyone named Dr. Tatum.
UPDATE 3/25/14 – Video has been released of Relisha and Tatum at the Holiday Inn in Washington DC taken on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, located at 1917 Bladensburg Road NE.
The video shows Tatum and Rudd walking down a hallway in the hotel. Rudd is wearing a pair of pink boots and a purple Helly Hansen brand jacket with white stripes. The public is being asked to view the video and to contact law enforcement if they have seen either individual.
My realization is that motel chains around the US should be receiving Amber Alerts and every check in personnel should be required to have a copy of an Amber Alert in case the child or suspect checks in.
UPDATE 3/24/14 – The FBI today has announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Relisha Rudd.
Previous story: Authorities have released an Amber Alert for a missing 8-year-old girl from Prince George County on Thursday.
Relisha Tenau Rudd was absent from school for nearly a month after her mother gave her to an acquaintance reports the Washington Post.
Evidently, a social worker who was concerned about Relisha called the police on Wednesday, which began the original search for her. The Washington Post reported that the mother said she had talked with Relisha by phone and did not consider her a runaway. She also stated she knew who she was with and asked him to return Relisha but he has not done so.
Police had two suspects in mind that they believed may have taken Relisha and tracked them to a motel in Oxon Hill. While going room to room, police discovered a deceased woman that apparently died from trauma. The woman was later identified as the girlfriend of one of the suspects, according to WUSA news. The authorities are still looking for those two suspects identified as Kahlil Malik Tatum and Rickie Sheridan Lyles.
Several weeks prior, Relisha was living with her mother and Tony Wheeler the boyfriend of Relisha’s mother at a homeless shelter on the 1900 block of Massachusetts Avenue. Kahlil, a janitor at the shelter had a granddaughter that became friends with Relisha and Kahlil offered to take Relisha to his home. During this time period, Relisha’s mother ended up in the hospital. According to Wheeler, everything was fine for a couple of weeks until he asked Kahlil to return Relisha, and he never did.
While the police were searching at the motel, they also located a black Honda Accord and a red Chevrolet Trail Blazer in the parking lot that they believe is connected to Relisha’s disappearance. According to the Amber Alert, Relisha may now be traveling in a white 1976 GMC truck with Maryland plates 305015.
If you have any information to her whereabouts, please contact the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099.