Sonya Eskridge is a writer from Maryland, who started her news career in radio at the age of 17. After graduating from Virginia Tech, she went on to write for a national publication where she was able to mold her personal voice. Always looking for ways to inform on important issues--or share her love of nerdy and girly things—Sonya thoroughly enjoys writing about a wide range of subjects.
Did the city of Washington, D.C., make several errors in the handling of Relisha Rudd’s case that made it easier for her kidnapper to get away with her?
It’s been months since Relisha was kidnapped, and she’s still no closer to being returned to her family. Even though she’s still missing, DC officials don’t believe that they could have prevented her disappearance.
An internal review released by two deputy mayors has revealed how the system failed Relisha and her family despite its best efforts. According to The Washington Post, her case initially slipped through the cracks because of poor communication between several agencies. These key departments didn’t take action quickly enough as a result of the fact that they all assumed the others had already jumped in to handle the situation.
The document lists about 26 different procedures that should have been used when Relisha went missing. Even so, The Washington City Paper reports that the review still insists that there was “no justifiable government action could have prevented her disappearance.” The document did, however, state that the city offered the young girl and her family the appropriate resources, and they peg her kidnapping as the result of poor decisions made by her loved ones.
Deputy mayor Abigail Smith said in a recent interview, “Even if recommendations were in place, there’s nothing that could have prevented what happened because of things that were completely out of the control of government agencies.”
The eight-year-old and her family had been living in a DC homeless shelter before she went missing. Relisha was last on March 1 with shelter janitor Khalil Tatum, but she wasn’t reported missing until more than two weeks later. Cops got on the case around March 19 and Relisha’s abductor was found dead of an apparently suicide on March 31.
It’s not clear what may have happened to Relisha, but we’re hoping that she’s found safe soon.