Investigators come up empty-handed as park search continues

Relisha Tenau Rudd was last seen in the 1900 block of Massachusetts Avenue in Southeast. (Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Police Department)
Seventh day of searching ends in frustration

wtopstaff | November 15, 2014 2:23 am

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WASHINGTON – A massive search for a missing 8-year-old girl in a D.C. park wound down Wednesday without yielding any new details about her disappearance.

Police say a theory that they would find Relisha Rudd at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens took them to the park, resulting in seven days of intensive searching, which is expected to continue Thursday.

“This was our best chance,” says D.C. Assistant Chief Peter Newsham. “Until we complete our search, then we’ll have a little bit more confidence that we’ve been unable to find her here.”

Police asked again that anyone with information about Relisha’s disappearance or where she could be to call investigators, saying any new lead could be the key to finding her.

Investigators believed that Tatum went to the park on March 2, the day after he was last seen with Relisha, after buying a carton of 42-gallon trash bags and other items.

Based on that information, cadaver and search dogs were brought in last week to locate Relisha’s possible grave site. Instead after several days of searching, officials found Tatum’s body.

Police don’t know when Tatum shot himself or if he came back to the park in the middle of the intensive search, Newsham says.

“Anything is possible,” he says.

Tim Gallagher with the FBI says the visible search is winding down at the park but the investigation will continue.

“We’ve had children we’ve recovered several years later,” Gallagher says. “We do not stop.”

The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to Relisha’s location. Anyone with information or who sees her is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on Facebook.

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