Authorities have positively identified the body of Kahlil Tatum, the alleged abductor of 8-year-old Washington, D.C., girl Relisha Rudd, as the search for the missing child continues.
Tatum’s body was found in Washington’s Kenilworth Park, according to a tweet from D.C. police.
The body found yesterday in Kenilworth Park has positively been ID'd as Kahlil Tatum.
â€” DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) April 1, 2014
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The 51-year-old Tatum was a janitor at the homeless shelter where Relisha lives with her mother, Shamika Young. Besides being suspected of abducting Relisha, Tatum was also believed to have murdered his wife, Andrea Denise Tatum, late last month in a Maryland hotel room. He had been charged with murder in his wife’s death.
Tatum’s body was found during a search for Relisha, authorities told the Washington Post. The 51-year-old is believed to have killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
The search did not turn up any signs of Relisha. But the girl’s aunt said she remains hopeful that her niece will be found alive, even if the discovery of Tatum’s body makes Relisha’s fate more puzzling.
“If it is him, where is Relisha? Where is she at?” Young told the Washington Post. “My faith is still alive, and I know we’re going to find her.”
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the search for Relisha is ongoing.
"Right now the best I can tell you is the search is underway... and there is more work to be done and more searching to be done,” she told D.C. ABC affiliate WJLA.
Relisha was last seen alive March 1 at the homeless shelter. Her mother let her go home with Tatum on Feb. 26, according to documents obtained by the Post. Shamika Young said she trusted Tatum and didn’t report Relisha missing because she believed her daughter was safe with him.
The FBI announced a $25,000 reward late last month for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case. The bureau also unveiled new photos that it hoped would lead to the safe return of Relisha.