Where is 8-year-old Relisha Tenau Rudd? (Metropolitian Police Department)

For 18 months, the family of young Relisha Tenau Rudd has lived in the D.C. General Hospital homeless shelter. They befriended a janitor there, and last month, Relisha’s mother allowed the janitor, Kahlil Malik Tatum, to care for the 8 year old. Now police are frantically searching for both Tatum and Relisha after the case took on new and alarming dimensions Thursday, when cops found the body of a woman linked to the case dead in an Oxon Hill motel room, leading to an Amber Alert. The Post’s Lynh Bui and Peter Hermann report: “The investigation is moving quickly across suburban Maryland as well as the District, and the child’s mother and other relatives have been interviewed. But a city official and police with knowledge of the search said that detectives are frustrated by contradictory statements, the inability to pin down a definitive timeline of events, and the unclear relationship between Tatum, Relisha and Relisha’s mother. One question still unanswered is precisely when the girl disappeared and whether authorities missed earlier opportunities to intervene.”

In other news:

New poll: Vince Gray and Muriel Bowser in dead heat (Loose LipsWAMU-FM)

Gray: If indicted, I will not resign (PostWJLA-TVLoose Lips)

Lawsuit filed by homeless families challenging city’s practice of housing them in rec centers is now a class action (PostHousing ComplexDCist)

Why Marion Barry’s latest racially loaded comment is barely news (Slate)

Hate your candidates? Blame the system, man (Blade)

Call the credit-hungry Vincent Gray the “great appropriator,” says Jonetta Rose Barras (Post column)

The Rev. Willie Wilson breaks with Marion Barry, backs Andy Shallal (WaTimes)

Kaya Henderson to Las Vegas teachers: “Who do we let into our teaching profession? Anybody. … It’s no wonder why we don’t have the top education system in the world” (Las Vegas Sun)

The Afro mayoral candidates guide, including this category: “Peaceful coexistence between longtime and new residents” (Afro)

Two of three at-large candidates admit to smoking marijuana (SALM)

Hand-dancing lessons from the master (Vimeo)

From a Stein Club stalwart, an endorsement for Brianne Nadeau (Blade)

Another Steiner: No need for a “D”; vote David Catania (Blade)

Even the Libertarian is against the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project (Hill Is Home)

Media outlets petition for reopening of fire lieutenant’s trial board proceeding (WAMU-FMletter)

HUD says no to Kenilworth-Parkside grant request (Capital Business)

Office of Planning says it is studying pop-up restrictions (PoPville)

Washington Monument is expected to reopen in May (AP)

UDC still has athletics, but at what cost? (City Paper)

Inside the George Washington University and Real Estate Investment Trust (Housing Complex)

To supplement the numbers, time for more qualitative data on D.C. schools (GGW)

Jeffrey Thompson may be cooperating with prosecutors, whodathunk? (WUSA-TV)

D.C. schools will start testing new tests (Post)

Weather puts off Potholepalooza (WUSA-TV)

H Street garden will stay a garden (Housing Complex)

The Georgetown restaurant situation is not so dire (G’town Metropolitan)

Be a responsible ANC commissioner during campaign season (Capitol Hill Corner)

Kalorama: Nice place to live, if you have the means (Post Real Estate)

The 12-foot Buddha is going to Florida (Eater)