WASHINGTON - It has been 21 months since 8-year-old Relisha Rudd disappeared. She was last seen with a janitor at the homeless shelter where she lived with her family. On Thursday, D.C. police started searching again for the little girl.
This little girl has captured the hearts of so many in the city. Police have never given up looking for her, but they started the search at a new site.
Rudd would have been ten years old on Oct. 29, but she is presumed dead. But her body has never been found.
D.C. police and the FBI started actively searching for her again Thursday. Canine teams and search teams did grid searches through a vacant construction site on Bladensburg Road. It is an area they have never looked before.
But police said this search is not based on new information.
“The location of the search today is not because some person has come forward and said I think you'll find Relisha or something related to Relisha here,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier. “This is really just a very deep analysis that has been done on all of the information we have throughout this investigation.”
This construction site is near the hotel where Rudd was last seen on surveillance video. She was with Kahlil Tatum, a janitor at the D.C. General homeless shelter where the child lived. Her family let her spend time with the janitor. He committed suicide after she disappeared.
The area of Bladensburg Road, Montana Avenue and New York Avenue in Northeast D.C. were searched, but police said no new information was discovered.
The teams will move to at least one other location, which the police are keeping under wraps for now.
“For searches of this nature, now 21 months later, it gets more difficult every single day,” said Lanier. “But that doesn't mean we are going to stop looking. And it doesn't mean we can't hopefully find Relisha.”
This has been a tough case for police to solve because they were not told that Rudd was missing for three weeks.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children used their expertise to advise the police on where to search.
Robert G. Lowery Jr., Vice President, national Center for Missing & Exploited Children
“When a child is missing, time is the enemy and we have to move very quickly because as time goes on, the hopes of finding that child does diminish, but I also want to point out is that doesn't mean that we won’t find her.”