Relisha Rudd: FBI releases surveillance video of Rudd and Tatum at NE hotel
(WJLA) - Hoping money talks, police released new crime fliers on Tuesday, touting a hefty reward: $25,000 for Khalil Tatum, and another $25,000 for kidnapped eight-year-old, Relisha Rudd.
"I mean, this is the highest of the high alert; clearly everyone here realizes that she, assuming she is with Khalil Tatum, is probably in real danger," said Lt. Bill Alexander, spokesman for the Prince George's County Police.
Tatum lived in this two-story apartment building along N Street in Southeast, and a mail carrier told ABC 7 that the 51-year-old moved in about six months ago:
"You know, he seemed like he had it all together."
Juvia Bush lives directly below Tatum, and while she never saw young Rudd, she often ran into Tatum with his now deceased wife, Andrea.
"They appeared very happy to me, that's why it was a complete shocker to me because they seemed like the kind of couple that was close-knit," she said.
While investigators won’t say exactly what evidence links Tatum to his wife’s murder, they are confident that he pulled the trigger, and are worried he could act again.
"So we're imploring our community, the people out there, please be on watch," said Lt. Alexander. "If you see Khalil Tatum or anyone you think may be him, particularly with a young girl, any tidbit of information could be that single bit of information we need to get this guy into custody."
On Tuesday evening, the FBI released surveillance video that shows Tatum and Rudd at a Northeast Holiday Inn on February 26, 2014. It is the same day Rudd's mother allowed Tatum to take the girl from the D.C. homeless shelter, where he works as a janitor.
The co-founders of the Black and Missing Foundation say the video can provide important clues – especially about the distinctive clothing the 8-year-old is wearing:
"Most importantly to jog someone's memory, who may have seen something that day on the 26th," said Natalie Wilson.
Already so much critical time has passed, as Relisha had been missing for three weeks before a school counselor notified police.
It is baffling to many area residents, who ask why the mother would allow Tatum to take her daughter:
"Someone you just met and he's the godfather -- that's not how godparents are established," said Carla Smith.
A woman familiar with the agony of a missing loved one is Valencia Harris. Three-and-a-half years ago, her daughter Unique – a young mother of two – disappeared with a trace.
"It never goes away, it's always there, it's always on the forefront of your mind," she described."It gets gloomy at times but I'm always hopeful."
Now, the Black and Missing group is working to get information in front of as many eyes as possible via social media.
"We have to use every platform to find her," said Wilson. "We have a large number of followers throughout the country."
But Derrica Wilson, a former police officer, says that social media is no substitute for an Amber Alert:
"It was just appalling that looking in Maryland, Virginia -- there was no active alert.
In a statement by D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier regarding the controversy surrounding exactly where the alerts were sent, she said:
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, Virginia.
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.