Shamika Young, Mother of Relisha Rudd

Shamika Young, mother of Relisha Rudd

Mother and grandmother said fugitive janitor was doctor, as part of cover-up

Khalil Tatum was a very smooth operator. According to all reports, he developed a relationship with Shamika Young and her 8-year-old daughter, Relisha Rudd, at the homeless shelter where he worked as a janitor. Tatum was a janitor at the shelter and unrelated to Shamika or Relisha in any way. Many times fatherless black women and young girls yearn for a father figure in their life and maybe Tatum was that figure. After all, he took the little girl to Disney on Ice, purchased a tablet computer for her and allegedly had overnight visits where she played with his granddaughter.

But between these adventures, many have questions for mother Shamika Young. One in particular: Why did you let this man take your daughter unsupervised for weeks and lie about the whole episode?

During the time period that Relisha Rudd was missing, Young told a stunning lie. Relisha’s school wanted to know where she was, because she’d missed too many school days. Young allegedly told the school that her daughter was sick and under the care of a physician. That’s when Relisha’s grandmother, Melissa Young, came to the school and presented a piece of paper with the name “Dr. Tatum” and a phone number. Young explained that her granddaughter suffered from intense headaches and seizures.  When the school called the number, a man whom they assumed was Tatum answered. The caller pretended to be a doctor and the school wanted written proof of Relisha’s treatment. In response, he told the school administrator to drop off the form at the “DC General Shelter.” The school official realized something was wrong and called the police.

Initially, the girl’s mother refused to allow law enforcement to issue an Amber Alert for her missing daughter. It was only after Khalil Tatum’s wife, Andrea Tatum, was found dead with a bullet to the head in a hotel room that the Amber Alert was issued.  This raises a number of serious concerns regarding this entire case:

  • Who allows their 8-year-old daughter to go on unsupervised overnight trips with a man not related to the family in any way?
  • Why did the mother and grandmother portray Tatum as a doctor?
  • Why did the DC General Shelter not know where minors under their roof were at all times?
  • Why did it take almost three weeks to start looking for this girl?
  • Why was a shelter employee allowed to have such access not only to Relisha Rudd, but apparently four other little girls?

But the most disturbing concern that is in the back of everyone’s mind is “Was Shamika Young pimping out her 8-year-old daughter to Khalil Tatum?”

Mo Barnes

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.