Investigators believe that a man found dead in a D.C. park Monday afternoon is the janitor suspected of abducting 8-year-old Relisha Rudd, the Washington Post reports.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier cautioned that while officials have not yet positively identified the body, reports drew them to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, which led to an extensive search for the missing child. The search instead turned up the man’s dead body.
Lanier told the Washington Post that investigators believe the dead man is 51-year-old Kahlil Tatum and that he killed himself.
Two police officials, who spoke with the Post on the condition of anonymity, said that tattoos on the man’s body helped lead to speculation that the man is indeed Tatum.
“Everything we have is consistent with what we know about his appearance,” Lanier said.
The search for Relisha is still ongoing. It is unclear what effect the discovery of the body has on the disappearance of the 8-year-old. Relisha was last seen March 1 with Tatum, who worked as a janitor at a D.C. homeless shelter where the young girl lived with her family.
Lanier said police will continue to search the 700-acre park Tuesday for signs of Relisha.
“We’re still here for the reason we came to be here, to find Relisha,” the police chief said during an evening news conference, the Post reports.
According to the Associated Press, Relisha’s mother allowed the girl to spend time with Tatum, and her family did not report her missing. Repeated absences from school led authorities to start looking for her on March 19.