A man found dead in an apparent suicide in a Washington park has been identified as the janitor suspected of abducting Relisha Rudd, police said Tuesday.
The body of Kahlil Malik Tatum was discovered Monday in a shed in Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. Police had been searching the park for Relisha, the missing 8-year-old, because Tatum lives nearby and had been seen in the park in early March after buying a box of large trash bags.
Relisha lived with her mother, Shamika Young, and three brothers in a homeless shelter where Tatum, 51, worked. Young told investigators she left her daughter in Tatum's care in February.
Young never reported her daughter missing. A social worker from Relisha's school visited the shelter March 19 to check on notes signed by "Dr. Tatum" to explain the girl's continued absence.
Ashley Young, Relisha's aunt, said she feared Tatum's death might make learning her niece's fate more difficult.
“If it is him, where is Relisha?” the aunt asked. “Where is she at?”