Police looking for missing Washington girl find man's body in park

Investigators looking for missing girl trying to determine whether dead man is janitor suspected of abducting her.
By Frances Burns   |   March 31, 2014 at 4:28 PM

A man whose body was found Monday in a Washington park during the search for 8-year-old Relisha Rudd appears to have committed suicide, police said.

Police were trying to determine if the dead man is Kahlil Mahlik Tatum, the 51-year-old janitor suspected of abducting Relisha, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. Police have said Tatum was seen in Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, a 700-acre area on the Anacostia River, after he bought large trash bags March 2.

Tatum, 51, faces a Maryland murder charge after allegedly killing his wife in the Washington suburb of Oxon Hill. In Washington, Relisha's mother, Shamika Young, says she left her daughter with Tatum on Feb. 26.

Police said the last confirmed sighting they have of Relisha was on March 1 with Tatum. His home is near Kenilworth Park.

Heavy rain during the weekend in Washington hampered the search for Relisha or her body. Police now describe the investigation as a recovery effort although investigators say there is no proof she is dead.

“The best I can tell you the search is still underway and there is a lot of work to be done,” Lanier said.

[Washington Post]

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