Relisha Rudd: Questions surround Amber Alert for missing girl

Photo courtesy of FBI

(WJLA) - If you drive into D.C. on I-295, you can see the Amber Alert signs for 8-year-old Relisha Rudd. The alert went to cell phones in D.C., but only in D.C.

Though the suspected abductor, 51-year-old Kahlil Tatum, is suspected of killing his wife last week in Maryland and has a criminal record in Virginia, there appears to be no Amber Alert for the child in either state.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier held a news conference on Monday, and insisted that Amber Alerts were sent out as far north as Pennsylvania and as far south as Florida.

However, we could not find any alerts in nearby Maryland. Police have to explicitly be asked for an issuance, but Maryland State Police confirmed that they were never asked.

"Our resources are in contact with them and are available to them -- but we just did not receive a request to issue this Amber Alert," said Greg Shipley with Maryland State Police.

Even when one of its child recovery unit officers went to the hotel last Thursday where Tatum’s wife’s body was found:

"He was told he was not needed at that time," said Shipley.

Chief Lanier said that her investigators are working around the clock with FBI and the P.G. County Police, as Rudd has not been seen since February 26.

"I think we've done due diligence with these Amber Alerts," she said. "If there's some glitches somewhere, we can look at those once we find her."

“The Amber program works so well that to date, there have been 685 children that have been rescued and returned,” said Bob Hoever, Programs Director for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "The whole premise of the Amber Alert is the eyes and ears of many far outweigh the eyes and ears of a few.”

Over the weekend, dozens gathered in a vigil outside the D.C. General Homeless Shelter where the girl lived – including the girl’s mother, who routinely allowed Tatum to take the child. But this time, he didn’t bring her back:

"I just want him to bring my daughter back , bring Relisha back,” said Shamika Young.

Around D.C., posters have gone up and many residents seem to be well aware of what has happened:

"I'm a mother of three, I would never let a stranger take one of my children,” said Southeast resident Barbara Scott.

The FBI has announced a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the location and return of Rudd.