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Search For 8-Year-Old Girl In D.C. Now In 'Recovery' Stage

Relisha Tenau Rudd was last spotted March 1 with a janitor who works at her and her mother's homeless shelter.
Posted at 8:15 AM, Mar 29, 2014

The search continues in the District of Columbia for an 8-year-old girl missing for almost a month. Relisha Tenau Rudd was last seen with a janitor at her homeless shelter suspected of murdering his estranged wife. (Via WMAR)

The latest news: D.C. police are now calling this a recovery operation, searching for any trace of the girl in a park near the homeless shelter. Though Chief Cathy Lanier says there's still at least some chance of a happy ending. (Via CBS)

LANIER: "We are discouraged at times by the amount of time she's been missing and some of the things we've discovered, but we are hopeful that we may still find her alive." (Via WVEC)

One of those things police have discovered: the janitor, Kahlil Tatum, frequently took Rudd out of her homeless shelter with her mother's permission.

And authorities say Tatum might have had contact with as many as four other young girls, buying them or their families gifts to gain trust. (Via Fox News)

WUSA spoke to Rudd's grandmother.

BELINDA WHEELER: "I know he took her to the Icecapades somewhere and went to play with this supposedly granddaughter. She was with him for a lot of times, and then he brought her back."

Rudd was last seen with Tatum March 1. One day later, Tatum was spotted alone at a hardware store buying 43-gallon trash bags, a shovel and lime — a substance that can speed up the decomposition process. (Via  WRIC)

The janitor hasn't been seen since March 20, the same day his estranged wife was found murdered in a Maryland motel. Local and federal authorities are offering a total reward of $70,000 for information leading to Rudd. Police have asked anyone who can provide tips to dial 1-800-CALL-FBI.