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D.C. Police: Body Found In Park Believed To Be Accused Abductor Of Missing Girl

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ)—After days of searching a Washington, D.C. park for a missing 8-year-old girl, police believe they’ve found the body of her abductor. Investigators believe Kahlil Tatum committed suicide–but they’re no closer to finding little Relisha Rudd.

Christie Ileto reports her family is pleading for answers.

A big break for police Monday in the case of the missing girl.

“It appears the person we found here today is Mr. Tatum and it does still appear at this point that it was a suicide,” said Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

This latest discovery comes on the fifth day of combing through 700 acres of Kenilworth Park in northeast D.C. Police believe Kahlil Tatum–a janitor at a homeless shelter where Relisha lived–kidnapped the 8-year-old.

The pair was last seen March 1 but it was the discovery of Tatum’s murdered wife in a Prince George’s County hotel weeks later that triggered an Amber Alert.

“We never had any reason to believe Mr. Tatum had left the area. We knew he had frequented the area and been to the area,” Lanier said.

With no trace of Rudd, family, friends and residents are clinging to hope.

“It’s crazy. It’s very crazy,” said neighbor Linda Brooks.

The park was a focal point for police following reports Tatum had been spotted in the area after purchasing industrial-sized trash bags.

Brooks lives across the street.

“This is like a nightmare. The wife is dead; they’re saying he allegedly killed the wife,” she said.

Police won’t say where exactly Tatum’s body was found or if this means they’re closer to finding Rudd but they do say they’ll be continuing the search here.

There’s still no trace of Rudd. While police remain hopeful, they say they can’t rule out the possibility Tatum may have killed her.

Police are asking anyone who has seen Rudd or with any information to call 911 or the FBI.

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