News & Politics

Plans for a Capitol Hill Development Include a Playground Named for Missing Child Relisha Rudd

The park would be part of Southeast DC's massive Reservation 13 redevelopment project.

Relisha Rudd in 2014 and in an age-progression photo. Photograph via @DCPoliceDept on Twitter.

As part of DC’s forthcoming Hill East Reservation 13 development, planners intend to name a playground after Relisha Rudd. Rudd, who would have turned 16 years old last week, went missing in 2014 from the homeless shelter at DC General, where she lived with her mother and siblings. The now-closed shelter was located on the same Southeast DC site as the proposed park.

Though some speculate janitor Kahlil Tatum, who posed as a doctor at the shelter, abducted Rudd and killed her, Rudd has never been found and Tatum took his own life before he could be questioned by authorities. The search for Rudd continues, and a remembrance day was held on March 1 to mark the seven-year anniversary of her disappearance. Recently, WAMU podcast “Through the Cracks” did an eight-episode series on the case, questioning who is to blame for the disappearance.

The playground and splash park will be part of the massive 11-acre development project near the Stadium/Armory Metro station. It will include over 2,000 residential units, a Marriott hotel, 85,000 square feet of retail, and a park named for Robert F. Kennedy. The city announced this week that it had chosen Donatelli Development and Blue Skye Development to build on one section of the land, and a team led by the BRP Cos. and Frontier Development and Hospitality Group for the other section.

Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.