WASHINGTON — An Amber Alert remains active for an 8-year-old who has been missing for weeks and is believed to be with a janitor at a homeless shelter where she'd been living with her mother and stepfather.
Her family is pleading with Relisha Tenau Rudd's abductor to return her home safely.
"Just bring my daughter home. That's all I want, just bring my daughter home," said Antonio Wheeler, Relisha's stepfather.
Police believe Relisha is with 51-year-old Kahlil Malik Tatum, the homeless shelter janitor.
While searching for Relisha and Tatum on Thursday, Prince George's County police found Tatum's wife, beaten to death at a Red Roof Inn in Prince George's County.
Friday, authorities there charged Tatum with the death of his wife, Andrea Denise Tatum, 51.
Police in Washington, D.C., alerted Prince George's authorities that one of the cars sought in the Rudd case, a white 1976 GMC pick-up, was seen at a Red Roof Inn. When officers arrived, they found a woman dead inside a room. The official says it appears she suffered from blunt force trauma.
Wheeler said the initial fear of his stepdaughter being abducted intensified after learning that she could now be with a man police believe is a murderer.
"I have no idea where she is. No idea," he said.
Wheeler added that he was blind-sided by a man he thought he knew and trusted.
"Mr. Tatum had been helping us out (at the shelter). He'd been showing us the ropes, showing us around, telling us when the activity room closed and what programs they have going on. He's a good man, I never got no bad vibes or a salty taste in my mouth about him," said Wheeler.
He and Relisha's mother, Shamika, trusted Tatum enough to allow their daughter to go home with him weeks ago.
They haven't been seen since.
Tiffany Young is Relisha's aunt and Shamika's sister. She wonders how her niece was allowed to go alone with Tatum.
"You only know (Tatum) because you were in the shelter. You don't know his background, you don't know anything. He don't have no kids, so why is she going over there unsupervised? What is she going over there for?" she asked.
"She's my only niece," said Young. "She's just a cheerful little girl. She's innocent."
Young said she thinks that her sister knows more than she's saying.
"My sister ... needs to come out and tell everything that she knows," said Young.
But Wheeler defended Relisha's mother.
"For those who don't know, Shamika been 100% honest for the past 48 hours. I can honestly say I've seen a change in her," said Wheeler.
Relisha is about 4 feet tall; weighs 70 to 80 pounds; and has black hair, brown eyes and a medium brown complexion.
Metropolitan Police Department issued the Amber Alert, but late Thursday evening authorities believed the young missing girl may have been, or could even still be, in the Richmond, Va., area.
Another man first connected to the abduction, Rickie Sheridan Lyle, is no longer believed to be with Relisha.