Janitor kidnaps girl, 8, from homeless shelter

Relisha Rudd and Khalil Tatum
Relisha Rudd and Khalil Tatum

An 8-year-old homeless girl, Relisha Rudd, was allegedly kidnapped by the janitor who worked at the homeless shelter. The incident occurred in late February 2014, in Washington, D.C., but the girl’s mother did not report her missing until several weeks later.

The suspect in the kidnapping is Khalil Tatum. Tatum is suspected of killing his wife before taking the little girl from her mother at the shelter.

The girl’s mother, Shamika Young, stated in an interview that “I didn’t see anything wrong with him. He’s a good guy. … When she 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.”

Young reportedly asked Tatum to babysit Relisha on Feb. 26. She did not initially consider her daughter missing because she had talked to her on the phone, but when she asked Tatum to return the girl, he did not.

Relisha’s school noted that she had not attended classes for a long period. Authorities were alerted and an Amber Alert was finally issued last week. Tatum’s car was found abandoned Thursday, March 20 in Maryland and police consider him armed and dangerous.

Relisha is described as a black female, standing 4 feet tall and weighing 70- 80 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes, and a medium complexion. The FBI and other law enforcement authorities are now involved in the search for the little girl. People are asked to call the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099, or the Youth Investigations Division at 202-576-6768 if they have any information on the missing girl or Tatum.

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Join Our Newsletter

Get the latest news from Rolling Out.