Police believe surveillance video from a Washington, D.C. hotel shows a wanted man and the girl he is accused of kidnapping.
Footage obtained by NBC Washington appears to show Relisha Rudd and her alleged captor, Kahlil Tatum. The video was recorded on Feb. 26, the night that the 8-year-old went missing.
Although she disappeared in February, it was weeks before school staff reported that Relisha, who is homeless and lives with her mother at a shelter, had not been attending class. Her mother, Shamika Young, refused to file a missing persons report, believing her daughter to be in the company of someone she trusted, according to WRC-TV.
"I didn’t see anything wrong with him. He’s a good guy," Young told the station Friday. "When [Relisha] did go out with him, he brought her back. He would take her shopping, took her to see Disney on Ice, he bought her a tablet for Christmas, took her out to eat with his granddaughter."
Tatum, a janitor at the shelter, reportedly knew Young for years, and had been trusted to watch Relisha before, the girl's mother said. An Amber alert was issued last Wednesday, about a month after Relisha disappeared.
But the next day, things took a turn for the worse, when Tatum's wife was discovered shot dead in a Maryland hotel room.
Police believe Tatum, who filed for divorce from his wife in February, pulled the trigger. The 51-year-old man is wanted on suspicion of murder and kidnapping.
Critics of the investigation have cried foul, maintaining that Relisha was allowed to "[fall] through the cracks."
In a press conference Monday, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the Amber alert had been issued in states from Pennsylvania to Florida, and that there is a "significant team of officers actively investigating" the case.
New photos of the suspect and the missing girl were released Monday.
Relisha is described as a black female, standing 4 feet tall and weighing between 70 and 80 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes, and a medium complexion.
Kahlil Malik Tatum is described as a black male, 5 feet 7 inches and 170 pounds. He has a tattoo of an ankh on his left arm, along with four other characters.
Police ask anyone with information on Relisha's whereabouts to call the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099, the Youth Investigations Division at 202-576-6768, or 911.
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