WASHINGTON (WJZ) — We’re learning more about Kahlil Tatum’s actions before and just after little Relisha Rudd disappeared. Crews are searching from dawn until dusk inside a D.C. park.
Derek Valcourt explains what led police there.
Our CBS affiliate in D.C. reports the suspect bought a shovel. Police say he bought several large trash bags and then spent hours at a massive wooded park just one day after the little girl was last seen.
Again Friday, more than 100 officers and cadets searched the massive 700 acre Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Park for any sign of eight-year-old Relisha Rudd.
She was last seen alive on March 1 in the presence of accused killer 51-year-old Kahlil Tatum–the janitor at the homeless shelter where Relisha lived.
“I just want to bring my daughter back,” Relisha’s mother, Shemeka Young, said.
Young let her go with Tatum and even told authorities Relisha was with her godfather and fine before stalling on an Amber Alert for the girl, who was gone 20 days before anyone started looking for her.
“We are discouraged at times by the the amount of times she’s been missing and some of the things that we have discovered,” Chief Cathy Lanier said, D.C. Police. “But we are hopeful that we may still find her alive.”
Friday, police divers searched waters in the park on information that Tatum spent hours there one day after Relisha was last seen.
As police continue to carry out their search of the park throughout the weekend, other investigators will be out tracking down new leads, including new information about contact Tatum had with three or four other young girls at the homeless shelter.
Earlier this week, a mother at the shelter told reporters Tatum would never harm Relisha because he had befriended her 10-year-old daughter.
“He always made sure that my daughter had money for Girl Scouts at her school. He paid for Girl Scout Cookies,” she said.
Tatum’s now on the FBI’s Most Wanted List–accused of murdering his wife March 19 at a Prince George’s County Red Roof Inn.
Police say early next week they may even enlist the help of community groups who want to assist with search of the areas surrounding the park.
An Amber Alert for Relisha has been issued up and down the East Coast and there is a $70,000 reward for her safe return.
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