Khalil Tatum posed as Relisha Rudd's doctor before Amber Alert
WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The extensive search for a missing 8-year-old D.C. girl continues.
At D.C. General Wednesday, teams of police cadets searched the grounds and eventually inside the homeless shelter where Relisha Rudd lived with her family. Rudd was last seen on Feb. 26 and is believed to be with Khalil Tatum.
"They're doing a door-to-door canvas to try to see if they can locate any witnesses that we have not yet interviewed," says Cmrd. Danny Hickson of the Metropolitan Police Department Youth Investigation Division.
Mayor Vincent Gray's administration raised questions about the child's grandmother, Melissa Young, and mother, Tamika Young. Around the time Relisha was seen with Tatum in surveillance video from a Northeast Washington hotel, staffers at Payne Elementary, where Relisha attended school, demanded to know why she'd been absent for so long.
School officials say Relisha's grandmother presented the school with a paper and the number of a "Dr. Tatum." The school called the number and a man answered, whom police now assume was Khalil Tatum, a janitor at the shelter, pretending to be a doctor.
When the school insisted on a written confirmation and Tatum reportedly told them to drop the form at the D.C. General shelter, school officials learned there was no Dr. Tatum. That's when they called police.
Rudd’s grandmother Melissa Young said on Wednesday that she is even more worried about her missing granddaughter because she may be in need of medication:
"Relisha suffers from real bad headaches, since she was one...then about October last year, she had a seizure."
Young also said that the family had been trying to get her in to see a neurologist to figure out why, and that Khalil Tatum likely knew this.
"But not one time did we ask him to pose as a doctor," she assured.
A startling accusation from city officials implies that the family was in on the hoax; but Young said Tatum told them Relisha had been having headaches.
We asked Young about that chilling hotel surveillance video, where the child seemed more than comfortable with Tatum:
"To her he was that friendly man that took her to spend time with her grand kids. This is not a child that cries not to go with him, this is a child that cries because she can't go with him."
Now, she says she’s just praying for him to bring her back.
Sources tell ABC7 that when Relisha disappeared, they tried to get the girl's mother to approve an Amber Alert, but she refused. It was only after Tatum's wife was discovered dead in a Maryland hotel room and police considered Tatum a suspect that an Amber Alert was declared.
In a statement released by the FBI on Wednesday night, it is being reported that Tatum has ties to Atlanta, and may be there currently or traveling in that direction.