August 23, 2014
HANDOUT PHOTO: Missing 8-year old Relisha Tenau Rudd, in October 2013. (Courtesy of Homeless Children's Playtime Project) Relisha Rudd, shown in an October photograph. (Courtesy of Homeless Children’s Playtime Project)

The Gray administration’s report on how city agencies dealt with Relisha Rudd, the 8-year-old girl who has not been seen since she went missing from the D.C. General homeless shelter, is still not ready for public consumption. On Friday, the mayor’s communications director, Doxie A. McCoy, advised by e-mail that the draft report was being reviewed by city lawyers.

“It’s taken longer than we ever imagined but local and federal privacy laws mandate that we have to wait for the legal green light,” she wrote. “We, for sure, wanted to get it finalized much sooner than later, too.”

She’s not alone. The public has been waiting for five months.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) ordered the review April 8 during the height of a well-placed public uproar over Relisha’s apparent abduction. The little girl was last seen March 1 in the company of Kahlil Malik Tatum, an employee at the homeless shelter. Tatum’s body was found a month later, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The five months since Gray’s announcement have been filled with broken promises of delivery dates, as I documented in previous blog posts. In May, McCoy’s predecessor said, “Mid to late June is the most likely timeframe” for the report’s release. As recently as Aug 4, McCoy told me that the city was expected to wrap it up in “a couple of weeks.”

It didn’t take this long to draft and enact the Declaration of Independence.

Relisha Rudd and her family at the shelter were under the city’s care. What did city agencies do on her behalf, and what did they fail to do? District taxpayers, in whose name city agencies work, need to know.

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