Report: Body found in D.C. park is suspected child abductor

Relisha Rudd, 8, left, and her suspected abductor Kahlil Malik Tatum. Tatum was found dead in a Washington park.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Police have confirmed that the body of a man found in a Washington, D.C. park Monday is that of Kahlil Tatum, suspected of abducting missing 8-year-old girl Relisha Rudd, reports CBS affiliate WUSA9.

The body was found Monday in Northeast Washington's Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, where authorities have been searching for Rudd since last Thursday, Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a press conference Monday.

On Monday, officials released few details about how the man died, but said it appeared he had committed suicide. In a press release Tuesday, police said Tatum sustained a gunshot wound, reports WUSA9.

Meanwhile, the search for Rudd continues and Lanier said Monday officials would continue to comb the park.

"There is still a lot of work to be done - we're not finished here," Lanier said.

Rudd, 8, was last seen March 1. According to CBS DC, Rudd had been staying at the D.C. General Family Shelter - where Kahlil Tatum worked as a janitor - with her mother and stepfather for a year and a half. Authorities said Rudd and her family knew Tatum, 51, prior to the girl's disappearance.

Tatum was charged in his wife's murder after the woman's body was discovered in a Maryland motel room, reported CBS DC.

Officers from multiple agencies and jurisdictions have been searching 700-acre park since last week, when they learned that Tatum spent time at the park, reports WUSA9. Sources told the station Tatum bought a shovel and lime as well as extra large garbage bags the day after Rudd's disappearance before spending hours there.

Lanier said last week that the search for Rudd is "best described as a recovery operation," but added that authorities haven't given up hope that she might still be alive.

"We cannot ignore the possibility that he may have killed her," Lanier said last week.

Lanier described the search as "very methodical and technical in nature." Officials, she said, have employed divers to search bodies of water and underwater cameras to search wells, along with cadaver dogs, search dogs, walking crews and aerial surveillance.

The search will go on "probably for a few more days," Lanier said.

  • Erin Donaghue

    Erin Donaghue covers crime for's Crimesider.