The missing 8-year-old reportedly had a difficult past, including more than two dozen school absences, filthy living conditions and physical abuse.
(Photo: AP Photo/FBI)
A recent report on the weeks leading up to the disappearance of Relisha Rudd sheds light on her difficult past.
The wide-scale search has been underway for eight days, but the whereabouts of the 8-year-old, who seemingly vanished, remain unknown, and had triggered an Amber alert on March 20.
According to the Washington Post, records show that guardians, social workers and employees at the D.C. General family homeless shelter where Rudd resided had extensive contact with the young girl but missed or ignored repeated opportunities to intervene weeks or even years ago.
Thirty school absences and records of physical abuse, filthy living conditions and a lack of food were just a few of the red flags uncovered in the extensive report on Rudd's upbringing.
“No one is telling us anything,” Sheron Woods, a fellow resident at the shelter, told the Washington Post. “The kids here are asking, "When is Relisha coming home?”
More information has also been revealed about Kahlil Malik Tatum, 51, a janitor at the shelter where Rudd lived, who is being sought in connection with her disappearance and the recent murder of his wife.
Rudd's relatives told reporters that Tatum had offered many of the children gifts and had taken Relisha shopping and swimming several times before. Several relatives had also referred to him as "Dr. Tatum" on several occasions, attributing Rudd's school absences to her being safely in his care.
“He always brought her back when he was supposed to,” Relisha’s aunt, Ashley Young, told the Washington Post.
None of the officials from the shelter or school seemed to be aware of Tatum's bizarre involvement with Relisha or the alarming fact that he was not a medical professional.
Beatriz "BB" Otero, the deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, also spoke to the Washington Post, saying that "this is an unusual case" because Rudd's mother did not file the missing child report and had referred officials to a "bogus" doctor.
“If a parent says, 'Here’s the name of a doctor,' they don’t verify the number of the doctor,” she said.
“They just call the doctor.”
CBS DC described Rudd as a Black female, 4 feet tall, weighing between 70 and 80 pounds. She has black hair, brown eyes and a medium complexion.
Rewards of up to $25,000 are being offered by the FBI and the Prince George's County Police of Maryland for information leading to the finding the Washington, D.C., girl and Tatum's arrest, respectively.
Police ask anyone with information on Relisha to call D.C. Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099, the Youth Investigations Division at 202-576-6768, or 911.
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