Suspect in Washington abduction found dead in park

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 01, 2014 6:06 PM

By Lacey Johnson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A janitor suspected of murdering his wife and abducting an 8-year-old girl killed himself in a Washington, D.C. park and the search for the girl is ongoing, police said on Tuesday.

The body of Kahlil Tatum, 51, was found in Kenilworth Park on Monday and had been there "for at least 36 hours," Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters. She did not say how Tatum had committed suicide.

Authorities have been searching for Tatum and the girl he was suspected of kidnapping, Relisha Rudd, since discovering the

body of Tatum's murdered wife, Andrea Denise Tatum, in a suburban Maryland motel room on March 20.

Rudd "could still be alive. That's why we're still asking for the public's help," Lanier said. "All possibilities are still open."

The girl, whose disappearance has generated national headlines, lived at a homeless shelter where Tatum worked as a janitor. She was last seen with him on March 1 in Washington.

The following day Tatum bought 42-gallon trash bags and police said he was seen not long after at Kenilworth Park and the Aquatic Gardens.

Police and volunteers have been searching the park and surrounding area for about a week in what Lanier called a "recovery operation" for the missing girl.

She said the search of the park could be completed as early as Wednesday.

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Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released surveillance video of Rudd walking with Tatum down the hallway of a Washington hotel on February 26.

After the girl vanished, Tatum continued to go to work and was sighted in Washington throughout the month. He disappeared after his wife's apparent murder.

The FBI is offering up to $25,000 for information leading to the location and return of Rudd.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Ian Simpson; Editing by Alden Bentley)