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Relisha Rudd's Absence Stuns D.C.

As the search for Relisha Rudd continues, more and more of her past comes into focus. It was not until Relisha had missed 30 days of school that the D.C. Child and Family Service Agency was notified. Even then, almost an entire week had passed before the Agency took action.

The main suspect for the missing girl is Kahlil Malik Tatum who was a custodian who worked at the homeless shelter where Relisha's family lived for the past 18 months. It is believed that Tatum killed his wife and is now in possession of the girl. The facts of the case only become stranger as a further investigation continues.

From the family's time at the shelter, Relisha's mother befriended Tatum who was friendly with many of the children at the shelter, offering them expensive gifts and taking them on small outings. All of these activities were unknown to the shelter as the facility had a strict no fraternization policy. Along with these interactions with Tatum, Relisha also experienced troubles at home. The D.C. Child and Family Service Agency has received several complaints against Relisha's family throughout the years including findings of inadequate food, lack of supervision, unsafe living conditions, and abuse.

What delayed the search for Relisha was that her family consistently told her school that Relisha was out sick and that many of her absences were excused. Furthermore, her family never reported her as missing. School officials state that they believed that Relisha was in the care of "Dr. Tatum" as Tatum impersonated a doctor in order to excuse Relisha's numerous school absences. When the school finally notified the D.C. Child and Family Service Agency, a social worker went for a routine visit to the homeless shelter. It was only then that the details of this strange case were beginning to appear. The search still continues as many are still revealing layer after layer of the events that led up to the disappearance.