The body of a man found dead in a park of an apparent suicide has been positively identified as that of a murder suspect who was the last person seen with a missing 8-year-old D.C. girl, police said Tuesday and reported by CBS DC.
The body of Kahlil Tatum, 51, was found in a heavily wooded area of Kenilworth Park in northeast Washington where police have been searching for Relisha Rudd. Police found his body Monday and confirmed Tuesday that he died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Tatum was a janitor at the city homeless shelter where Relisha had been living with her family. Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Metropolitan Police Department and FBI, are continuing to search for Relisha, whose disappearance triggered a massive Amber Alert that eventually blanketed the eastern seaboard.
The discovery of Tatum’s body was a shock for police because they were focused on finding Relisha, Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said Monday. Lanier said at an afternoon press conference Tuesday that it appears Tatum’s body had been in the park for at least 36 hours but possibly several days.
“This discovery was a shock for us,” Lanier said. “We were very focused on finding Relisha and that’s what we came here for. … We’re not finished. That search is continuing.” Around 100 people marched along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast a few hours after police announced the discovery of the body. WNEW’s Cameron Thompson says Rudd’s great-grandmother was also present during a candlelight vigil for the missing 8-year-old girl.