UPDATED: April 6, 2014 7:34 p.m.
LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — A grassroots group of concerned citizens met in D.C. Sunday to hand out flyers on behalf of Relisha Rudd.
Relisha was last seen March 1. Authorities have been searching for her since late March after her absences from school triggered an investigation.
The search of a heavily wooded park in northeast Washington for the missing girl concluded late Thursday.
Assisted by multiple local law enforcement agencies, D.C. Police began an exhaustive search of Kenilworth Park last week. Authorities thoroughly scoured the 700-acre park multiple times and found no trace of the girl, though they did find the body of the man suspected of abducting her, Kahlil Malik Tatum.
He was found Monday, and police say it appears that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“While we’re all a bit relieved that we did not find find Relisha here the way we anticipated we would find her,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. “It’s heart-wrenchingly frustrating that we don’t have answers as to where she is right now.”
The search of park had been categorized as a recovery operation by authorities.
“We came here expecting the worst,” Lanier said. “When we started we were looking for possibly a grave site. We’re relieved that we didn’t find that … we’re always hopeful. Children have been found alive years from the time of their going missing.”
A group of more than 30 residents met Sunday, not giving up hope, either. They are meeting at the Holiday Inn parking lot on Bladensburg Road in Northeast, and are sending groups to canvass the areas of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road, Pennsylvania Avenue and Minnesota Ave. NE, Benning Road, and Kenilworth Avenue.
— Heather Curtis (@HeatherMCurtis1) April 6, 2014