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Police Identify Body Found In Park As Accused Abductor Of Missing Girl

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Derek Valcourt 370x278 Derek Valcourt
Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The desperate search for a missing 8-year-old girl continued in northeast Washington D.C. Tuesday, just one day after police found her suspected abductor dead.

Derek Valcourt has the latest on the search for Relisha Rudd.

Police say Kahlil Tatum was the last person seen with the missing girl. With his death, the question remains: where is Relisha Rudd?

Police now believe 51-year-old murder suspect Tatum may have committed suicide anywhere from 36 hours to several days before his body was discovered Monday in the same park where police continue to search for the little girl.

“She could still be alive. That’s why we’re asking for the public’s help. Obviously we don’t have a crystal ball; we don’t know what the circumstances are for Relisha right now but we are working on following up all tips and leads that come in,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

Rudd was last seen alive on March 1 with Tatum, who worked at the homeless shelter where Rudd lived. Police say he befriended her family. It wasn’t until the discovery of Tatum’s murdered wife weeks later that an Amber Alert for the little girl was first issued.

Police say Tatum bought large contractor-sized trash bags just one day after Rudd was last seen in his presence. Now police continue to search the park where Tatum killed himself on the off chance that he may have disposed of her body there.

Tuesday, police cadets combed through woods and fields for any sign of the missing girl.

“I’m living it so I know what the family is actually going through,” said Derrick Butler.

Butler–whose own sister Pam disappeared in D.C. five years ago–joined other volunteers from the group Black and Missing to help police with the search of the park.

“What we were really looking for was definitely a body, articles of kids’ clothing, maybe a loose piece of ground or something, maybe looked like somebody had dug up,” he said.

But for now, police seem no closer to digging up the truth about what happened to Rudd.

Police say they will continue to search the park Wednesday and possibly Thursday.

The reward for information that helps to find the little girl is up to $70,000.

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