Update: MPD has confirmed the identity of the man found as Kahlil Malik Tatum. A press release has been added to the bottom of this post.
Update: MPD has tentatively identified the man found as Kahlil Tatum.
Police say an adult man found in woods of Kenilworth Park in Northeast D.C. appears to have committed suicide. Law enforcement officers have been searching the park in connection with the abduction of 8-year-old Relisha Rudd, who has been missing since March 1.
During a press conference Monday afternoon, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said law enforcement cannot yet say if the man found is Kahlil Tatum, the janitor suspected in Rudd’s abduction and the death of his wife.
Instead, Lanier turned the focus to Rudd, promising that the search in the park will likely continue for “a few more days.”
“Our primary focus here was to find Relisha,” Lanier said. “We’re not finished.”
Sources tell ABC7 News that D.C. Police have found the body of an adult male near the location of the Relisha Rudd search. The body was found Monday near Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens.
Law enforcement sources say Prince George’s County detectives are enroute because it appears to be Kahlil Tatum.
Sources tell ABC7 that the male victim appears to have been shot in the head, and a gun was found in his lap.
Officers from multiple agencies and jurisdictions have been searching the park since last week, when they learned that Rudd’s suspected abductor — Kahlil Tatum — spent time at the park. Sources say Tatum bought a shovel and lime as well as extra large garbage bags on March 2nd before spending hours at the park.
Prince George’s County (Md.) police are leading the search for Kahlil Tatum, says Lanier. She described it as a “very aggressive search.” At this time, there is no reason to believe Tatum has left the Metro area, according to Lanier. She asked him to turn himself in.
Kahlil Tatum remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for the murder of his wife in a Prince George’s County hotel. Chief Lanier said last week that he may still be in the Metro area.
Update 5:56 p.m.:
The Washington Post reports:
Investigators think a man found dead Monday in a D.C. park may be the janitor suspected of abducting 8-year-old Relisha Rudd, according to four law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation.
Officials cautioned they had not yet positively identified the body, found during an extensive search for the missing child at the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens.
In an afternoon broadcast, WUSA9 says sources say the body “appears to be” Tatum, based on a distinctive tattoo.
NBC Washington reports that investigators are now searching for Rudd downstream of the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, in the Anacostia River:
Below, MyFox DC has the full press conference from this afternoon:
April 1, 2014
Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens Decedent Identified
(Washington, DC)- The Metropolitan Police Department has announced that on Monday, March 31, 2014, at approximately 12:30 pm, an adult male, who appeared to have sustained an apparent gunshot wound and did not show any signs of life, was located in the area of the Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens in Northeast, Washington, DC.
The decedent has been identified as 51 year-old Kahlil Malik Tatum of Southeast, Washington, DC.
The Metropolitan Police Department, FBI, other law enforcement agencies, and volunteers continue search efforts for 8-year-old Relisha Rudd and are still seeking information to help locate her.
Relisha is described as a black female, 4’0” tall, weighs approximately 70 to 80 pounds, black hair, brown eyes, and has a medium complexion. She may be in need of medication.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the location and return of Relisha Rudd. If you see Relisha Rudd call 911 immediately. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411. You can also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.