WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The FBI is releasing new video in the search to find missing 8-year-old Relisha Rudd and the accused killer police believe abducted her.
Monique Griego has the footage and new questions on whether D.C. police properly used the Amber Alert system to find her.
Newly released video from the FBI shows 8-year-old Relisha Rudd walking down a hotel hallway with her suspected abductor, 51-year-old Kahlil Tatum.
The footage is from a Holiday Inn Express on Bladensburg Road in Washington, D.C. Cameras captured the images on Feb. 26.
Investigators say Tatum was a janitor at the homeless shelter Rudd and her family were staying at.
“He’s always taken her and always brought her back,” Rudd’s grandmother said.
Rudd was missing for several weeks before concerned school officials notified police last week. Investigators tracked Tatum’s car to a Prince George’s County Red Roof Inn. There, they found his wife murdered inside.
Now serious questions are being raised about what D.C. police did next. Monday, Chief Cathy Lanier said an Amber Alert was issued for Rudd in D.C. and throughout the East Coast.
“The Amber Alert was issued as far north as Pennsylvania and Delaware and as far south as Florida,” Lanier said.
But according to several state police agencies–including here in Maryland–that simply did not happen.
“Maryland State Police has never been requested to issue an Amber Alert,” said spokesman Greg Shipley.
Shipley says without a request, no Amber Alert could be issued.
But the department did send out a missing critical child alert. He says it’s similar to the Amber Alert but doesn’t use highway signs.
“The bottom line in this case was we were not requested but we provide immediate support and get this information out in all kinds of ways,” Shipley said.
Many are now hoping this latest piece of video will help close in on Tatum and Rudd’s whereabouts.
In order to issue an Amber Alert, several criteria have to be met, including having enough descriptive information. Both of Tatum’s cars have been located so, without a vehicle description, Maryland State Police say an Amber Alert may not be possible.
WJZ received this response from Chief Lanier via email:
“Several reporters have inquired about the activation of the Amber Alerts in the case of missing 8-year-old Relisha Rudd.
“I am very satisfied with the efforts of our regional partners to publicize this case. We appreciate the overwhelming support from the media and government agencies such as transportation agencies, fusion centers, state and local law enforcement agencies including Maryland and Virginia. This has resulted in saturation coverage, numerous alerts being issued by phone and text, highway alerts being activated and tips received from as far away as Chesterfield, Va.
“At this time, all known vehicles potentially associated with this case have been recovered. We will continue to share information as appropriate as it is developed. The urgent priority is to locate this girl.
“The FBI has announced a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the location and return of Relisha. A separate reward of up to $25,000 is offered by Prince’s George’s County Police Department to anyone who provides information leading to an arrest and indictment in their homicide case, in which 51-year-old Kahlil Malik Tatum is being sought.”
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