Lanier: Body found in Kenilworth Park 'tentatively' identified a - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Lanier: Body found in Kenilworth Park 'tentatively' identified as Kahlil Tatum

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Kahlil Tatum Kahlil Tatum
WASHINGTON - D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says the body of a man found Monday afternoon in Kenilworth Park has tentatively been identified as that of Kahlil Tatum, the man with whom police say 8-year-old Relisha Rudd was last seen on March 1.  Lanier said the body was found in a building of the search area where authorities are looking for Relisha, but there's still no sign of her.

Lanier said it appears Tatum committed suicide.  She said medical records will be needed to officially confirm his identity.  Lanier told reporters the discovery of his body inside a building in the park was a shock.  Lanier says the area where Tatum's body was found had been previously searched.

Police sources tell FOX 5's Maureen Umeh that Tatum died from a gunshot wound to the head. Police also say his body had been at the scene for some time.

The search for Relisha will resume Tuesday morning and is expected to go on for several days.

In an earlier news conference, Lanier said authorities from a number of agencies have been using a number of resources including divers, cameras and aerial surveillance to search the 700-acre park for Relisha, and that search will continue. 

Prince George's County police were also at the scene where the body was found.  A warrant for Kahlil Tatum's arrest was issued by Prince George's County police in connection to the murder of his wife, 51-year-old Andrea Tatum.  She who was found dead in a Prince George's County motel room on March 20, as authorities searched for Relisha Rudd. Tatum is charged with first-degree murder and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.  He has not been seen since March 20 when he was dropped off at a Metro station.

Police say in late February, Relisha's mother allowed her to be taken care of by Tatum, 51, who was a custodian at the homeless shelter where her family was staying.  Police have said they believe Tatum abducted her.

The day after Relisha was last seen, police say Tatum bought a container of heavy-duty trash bags, and was in Kenilworth Park for a period of time.  After that, Tatum was going to work and was seen in D.C. through March 20, but Relisha was not seen.

Over the weekend, police and fire department dive teams searched for evidence at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, but found no sign of the missing 8-year-old girl.

On Friday night, a nearby Days Inn Motel on New York Avenue was searched, and an employee confirmed that the suspect in the case, Kahlil Tatum, had stayed there.  The employee did not disclose the date of his stay.  Residents there confirmed that police were asking about Tatum and the missing girl.

Fort Dupont Park, which is about two miles away from Kenilworth Park, has also been the scene of extensive ground searches in recent days.

Last week, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier called the search for Relisha in the park a recovery mission, but said authorities continue to follow new leads as they come in.   Lanier said though they information they learn is sometimes discouraging, they try to remain hopeful that Relisha could still be found alive.

Relisha is described as a black girl, weighing about 70 to 80 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes and a medium complexion.

If you see Relisha, call 911 immediately.  You can also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Stay with FOX 5 and for updates. 

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