Eight-year-old Relisha Rudd was already known to have family issues before she disappeared earlier this month. According to The Washington Post, police are looking for Rudd and 51-year-old Malik Tatum a janitor at the homeless shelter at the former D.C. General Hospital where she lived with her mother and three siblings.

Tatum is believed to have killed his wife and taken off for whereabouts unknown. Complicating the story is that relatives told police the child was safe and told school authorities who questioned Rudd’s absences from school that she was sick and with “Dr. Tatum.” Though alarms did go up when Rudd was missing from school over 30 days, it was not immediately figured out because of what relatives had communicated. Relisha’s mother, Shamika Young, 27, also told police that the child was safe.

The Post reports that in 2007, D.C. children’s services made contact with Rudd’s family due to poor living conditions including physical abuse, no food in the home and filthy conditions. But for whatever reason, Relisha was never removed from the home, nor were her siblings.

“To my knowledge, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to have an allegation of abuse or neglect,” D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray told the Post earlier this week. “I’m not going to get into a lot of details, but I certainly did read a chronology where [the school system] was told the child was sick. . . . It appears to me the agencies involved made responsible actions.”

Rudd, her mother and siblings lived in the shelter for 18 months. Her family befriended Tatum, who was known to be friendly with families and give children gifts although it was against the rules and a fireable offense. Relisha’s mother told police she had accompanied Tatum to a medical seminar in Atlanta with his family but wasn’t sure when her daughter was coming back.

Tatum was friendly with many shelter residents and their children against the rules. He was apparently telling school officials that he was a doctor but when Relisha’s absences mounted, he wasn’t able to show documentation of her illness, a fail-sale in D.C. public schools. Confusion continued to mount when it was unclear exactly when Relisha was last seen in school and the fact that various relatives were saying the child was safe kept the school in the dark that she was actually missing.

Police now believe that Relisha may have been killed, although they are still hoping for the best, according to the Post. Obstruction of justice charges may be filed against Young, who told the Post she is not a bad mother.

“It’s not my fault,” Young said. “I am tired of laying my head down to get some rest and I can’t reach out to grab my daughter.”

She says she last talked to her daughter on March 17th. Tatum continued to come to work until March 19, when he was questioned by a social worker about Relisha’s absences. He then left before ending his shift.

Tatum and Relisha were last seen on February 28 on a surveillance camera video at a Holiday Inn in Northeast Washington. Police know that Tatum killed his wife March 19 at a hotel in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Relisha was not seen with him at the time and that is the last time Tatum has been seen.

There is a $25,00 award for finding Tatum and a $45,000 reward for Relisha’s return. Police are focusing on Richmond, Va. and Atlanta, Georgia in their search for Tatum.



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10 thoughts on “Where Is Relisha? D.C. Girl Goes Missing After School Absences

  1. Yolanda bryant on said:

    Let us all just pray. No need to point blame. I’m sure the families are going through enough.But I agree this whole thing is very bizarre..

  2. Jiggy5 on said:

    I have seen the enemy, and it is ourselves. And we waste time and effort hating on people like Zimmerman. Shame on us, shame.

  3. I have been following this story and something just doesn’t add up to me, how do you just give your child to a total stranger and then lie about where she is. Both the mother and the grandmother look like they are on drugs and are as ignorant as they come. The child is gone and it is her fault. I hope she can live with herself once they find her all cut up and in plastic bags spread all over DC cause that’s what this POS did to her. I am praying for her soul.

    • Get Right on said:

      Uhh no, an idiot let her baby go with a f’n predator. Let’s not get it confused! You read the same thing we all did. There’s no room to misinterpret. Keep your ignorant biases to yourself.

    • sondis on said:

      I call BS on Mac Ben, claiming to be a black person. Classic case of a black sock puppet!

      Black sock puppets are commenters who pretend to be black. Most are white racist trolls.

      Red flags:

      Conspicuous Blackness:
      Use of Mock Ebonics. This is pretty much a dead giveaway. Most Black Americans use Standard English in a public, written medium like a blog. Meanwhile, few whites can use Ebonics properly.

      Act to stereotype. They do this to “seem black”, if only to themselves.
      Use a name that seems “black” or “African”, like “Trinidad African” or “Naija Girl”.
      Say they are black in their first comment. You might think this is pretty common among black commenters, but at least on this blog it is not. Most make their race implicit in what they say, not explicit. Presumably because, unlike black sock puppets, they do not feel the need to point out their race or expect it to be doubted.

      Have a stereotyped view of blacks. Particularly one that never seems to go beyond the misrepresentation shown on American television. Most blacks have a broader, more fleshed-out, subtle, ordinary-life view of blacks.

      Push whitewashed opinions. Either by word or by acting to stereotype. There is little point in being a black sock puppet otherwise.
      Trolling. At least on this blog, nearly all trolls have been white. They create disagreements for their own amusement and then make it about winning the argument – because deep down they do not take the subject seriously.

      In short, black sock puppets tend to be trolls who are Conspicuously Black yet whitewashed!

      These behaviours flow from the nature of being a black sock puppet yet are things most black commenters do not do. Any one of them in itself might mean nothing, but two or more together is a bad sign.

      It is possible for a black person to do everything on the list, of course. Some blacks are Conspicuously Black. Some blacks are whitewashed. Some are trolls. Yet it is far more likely that these qualities will come together in a white troll than a black person.

      That said, there are two things to watch out for:

      Judging blackness based on ideology. There are 40 million blacks in America, a billion worldwide. They cover the full range of opinion, from Clarence Thomas to Angela Davis to beyond. There is no ideological purity test.

      Ad hominem fallacy: Arguments stand or fall in the end based on fact and reason, not on who makes them. Even black sock puppets can be right.

      The trouble with black sock puppets is not that they are wrong – sometimes they are right – but that they are arguing in bad faith.

      Commenters and race: Generally speaking, I try not to concern myself with a commenter’s race, particularly since it is nearly impossible to prove over the Internet (and, in any case, letting people self-identify however they want is probably the best policy, online and off). Instead I try to concern myself with their arguments. White racism is wrong no matter whose mouth it comes out of.

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