Many gathered at the intersection of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road in Northeast D.C. to remember Relisha Rudd; the 8-year-old who disappeared exactly six years ago.
It was a somber Sunday for those close to the 8-year-old, who were reminded where she was last seen as the search continues.
“I’m here to help the police department to get that phone ringing, to get those tips coming in, that’s the ultimate goal,” said Henderson Long with D.C.’s Missing Voice, which organized the event during which flyers were handed out.
Long and others gathered near the hotel where a surveillance camera caught the last glimpse of Rudd, who police believe was kidnapped from the D.C. General homeless shelter by a janitor in 2014.
That was the last time Rudd was seen.
Ahead of the anniversary, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children released a photo of what Rudd may look like at the age of 14. That photo was featured on the flyer.
“I am so serious about finding this child,” Henderson said.
Among those handing out photos of Rudd was Melissa Young, Rudd’s grandmother, who said the family remains hopeful she will be found.
“I [have] just been praying and hoping that she be found and not just be returned back to me and the family, but to everyone that’s been putting in the efforts to keep her name out and find her,” Young said teary-eyed.
Derrick Butler said he knows first hand what Rudd’s family has been experiencing.
His sister, Pamela Butler, was missing for eight years until her boyfriend pleaded guilty to killing her. He showed up to support Rudd’s family and help them find answers.
“I don’t think you ever really get closure when somebody is snatched away from you like that, but it helps make it a little easier to bear,” Butler said.
Rudd’s accused abductor, Khalil Tatum, was seen with her in the video clip, too.
Around the time of Rudd’s abduction, Tatum was believed to have killed his wife and then himself. His body was found in Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens a month after Rudd vanished.
Some volunteers are hopeful Rudd’s story can still have a happy ending.
“I am so hopeful that the baby girl is still alive,” said Monique Smith.