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Missing Girl`s Stepdad Showed Off Cash After Disappearance

Aired April 7, 2014 - 19:00:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... beside her. Pretty devastating.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, what is the back story behind this Facebook photo of Relisha Rudd`s stepfather? As the mystery deepens, as a new man surfaces tonight in the hunt for 8-year-old Relisha Rudd.

For weeks, cops have been focused on one man, Khalil Tatum, the janitor. But could more people be involved in this little girl`s disappearance?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, Relisha, sweet pea. Set Relisha free to come home to her mother, father and her brother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Questions about her relationship with Tatum.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, she is at Tatum`s house, he`s good.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Who lets the janitor take the kid?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s a child. She`s a baby. And just thinking of her out here in the woods alone is just...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police have released surveillance video of a hoodie-wearing man stepping off an escalator. A person detectives want to talk to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have strong belief that somebody else has her. Who has her? Who is protecting her? Who is looking out for her? Her well-being?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel that this little girl is alive.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live.

Police said they wanted to talk to this man, seen here getting off an escalator in what looks like a metro station. But now they`ve tracked him down and say he did not help in the search for this missing child.

But why did they want to talk to him in the first place? And does it dovetail with Relisha`s grandmother`s claim that there is a conspiracy of silence here?

Relisha was reported missing nearly three weeks ago, which was three weeks after she was last seen. Authorities believe her mother handed her off to this man, Khalil Tatum, the janitor, at the Washington, D.C., area homeless shelter, where little Relisha lived.

The day after Relisha was reported missing, Tatum`s wife was found murdered in a Maryland hotel. Then last week, Tatum himself was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a park. So where is the child?

She and Tatum were caught on surveillance camera, walking through a hotel on February 26, the last day she was spotted at that shelter. Why was this grown man in a hotel, heading into a hotel room with the little girl? Her grandmother says, oh, she thought they were attending a pool party.


MELISSA YOUNG, RELISHA`S GRANDMOTHER: She went to a pool party. They were supposed to have -- his granddaughter -- his granddaughter was supposed to have a pool party at a hotel. At the indoor pool there at the hotel.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A pool party in February? At a sleazy hotel? What was really going on in that hotel?

Tonight, a shocking photo of Relisha`s stepfather with a giant wad of cash in his mouth surfaces. Look at that. This was supposedly taken in February, right around Relisha`s disappearance, and shortly after that, Relisha`s mother reportedly got $4,000. Now, we`re hearing conflicting reports about where she got that from.

What do you think happened to Relisha? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1- 877-586-7297. I want to hear from you.

Straight out to my very special guest, Melissa Young, Relisha, the missing girl`s grandmother. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

I`ve got to start by asking you, Melissa, where did your daughter`s husband get all the money that he was stuffing in his mouth? And why are we hearing reports that your daughter also got $4,000 right around the time shortly after her daughter disappeared?

M. YOUNG (via phone): Hello.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hello. Did you hear my question? Melissa?

M. YOUNG: Yes. Yes, ma`am, I heard it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Well, why? How did -- how did the missing girl`s mother get $4,000?

M. YOUNG: OK. My daughter was involved -- was in my car when I had my accident last year, April the 10th, 2013. We all was involved in a car accident. Myself, my husband, her little sister, her little sister`s son, her little sister`s boyfriend and Shamika herself. We all were in the car. We had an accident and hit the tree. That`s where Shamika came about getting $4,000 from.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, so it`s just a coincidence that after the -- her daughter, this precious child who is seen her dancing vanishes, her mother gets $4,000? I have so many questions about that. One, why not use that $4,000 to move into a real apartment?

M. YOUNG: One, she`s just getting that settlement from -- of a year ago. It would be a year on this coming Thursday. So -- but I don`t know why she didn`t use it to get into an apartment. As a matter of fact, she hasn`t even, from my understanding, she hasn`t even spent her settlement from the car accident.


M. YOUNG: And her baby`s father.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I would hope not. I mean ...

M. YOUNG: She hardly spent anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. But why not? Why not use it as a down-payment for an apartment? I mean, what we`re hearing, the "Washington Post" did an in-depth article on this back story of Relisha, the missing child, and said she was often dirty showing up at school; she hated living in a homeless shelter.

M. YOUNG: She`s never dirty showing up in school.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they`re saying she was living in a homeless shelter for two years and that she hated it to the point where she was moved around a rotating group of family members. And then this Khalil Tatum janitor guy moves into the rotation and takes her to movies and stay over. And then finally just takes her.

M. YOUNG: Since my grandkids and their mother has been in D.C. General shelter for the past two years, everybody has had my grandkids. My grandkids, not just Relisha, speaking about her brothers, as well. Relisha and her siblings never really stayed a full night, let alone a full week at the shelter. They were always gone.

So, of course, yes, Relisha and her brothers hated being at the shelter. One, because there`s nothing for them to do. They have nowhere to play. No playground, no nothing. If you are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you are fending for yourself. They`re standing outside amongst their parents and other people that get off the bus there. And they`re doing God knows what while grown-ups is just standing there, you know, smoking a cigarette or whatever. But the kids are standing there.

So why not let her kids get away? Get away every weekend. This is -- and Mr. Tatum`s -- on Mr. Tatum`s behalf, this is the first time he ever done something like this. Ran with her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you can`t do something like this twice. He was pursued by cops for abducting her.

M. YOUNG: Right. This is the first time we had a problem out of him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. And then allegedly murdering his wife and then killing himself. I mean, you don`t do that twice.

M. YOUNG: Well...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to ask you one thing. Before we go to our panel, I just want to give you an opportunity to respond to the photo, if we can show it again, of the missing child`s stepfather, your daughter`s husband, is my understanding, holding a wad of cash in his mouth in February. And remember, this child was not reported missing until March 1, was last seen on March 1, sorry. Was last seen on March 1, but was with the janitor on February 26.

So in February, he`s got this cash in his mouth. What`s -- some people are disturbed about all this money coming into the family right around the time that she disappears.

M. YOUNG: Speaking of -- speaking of all the cash that her baby`s father -- he`s not -- they`re not officially married. They`re engaged.


M. YOUNG: Her fiance seen with a pistol (ph) stuffed in his mouth. Her fiance -- her stepfather gets disability. He gets two checks. Every month, he gets two checks. So it`s not normal for him to have that much money. And he doesn`t spend all of his money. He saves it.

So when he gets his benefits for the following month, he`s still got money for the next month to add to the benefits that he got for the new month. So it`s not unusual for him to have that type of money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, I have so many other questions. Can I ask you to stand by for a second, Melissa?

Gaetane Borders, you`re the president of Peas in Their Pods. You`re an advocate for missing children and children in these kinds of circumstances. You`ve been hearing the explanation that the grandmother, the mother of the mother of Relisha, has given to the money that`s been coming in, and particularly the photo of Relisha`s mother`s fiance, holding a wad of cash. Do -- are you satisfied with those explanations?

GAETANE BORDERS, PRESIDENT, PEAS IN THEIR PODS: Absolutely not, Jane. I am not satisfied, with all due respect to the grandmother. She is only relaying information that was given to her by the parents, the stepdad and the mom.

And like I tell my kids, if you tell one lie, two lies, three lies, the fourth time, even if you`re telling the truth, no one is going to believe you. This story has so many holes, Jane.

I`m sorry, that picture of that dad holding that wad of cash in his mouth did not seem to me like someone who is customary to saving his money. It was more gloating like. I don`t buy it. I just simply do not buy it. And the brand-new sneakers.

Like you said, why not take that money and get out of that shelter immediately? If it was such deplorable conditions that we talked about and we heard you say on the show, why stay there for even one second? I`d be out second one. And I don`t -- I just don`t buy it. I`m sorry.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Lieberman.

LIEBERMAN: Jane, police are actually still trying to make heads or tails of the relationships in this case, as well.

We`ve learned police believe that Relisha`s mother originally met Khalil Tatum back in 2005, the same year that this cute little girl was born. So police still haven`t even been able to determine definitively the relationship between Relisha`s mother and Khalil Tatum. That`s something they`re looking at.

The other thing is, there`s an active open-air drug market in front of this homeless center where this family was living. So now police are looking into drug ties, sex-trafficking ties, human-trafficking ties. Everything is on the table at this point.

And finally, Jane, they do believe there`s at least one other person who has knowledge of what happened in this case. That`s why, in the beginning, they were looking for a man in connection with the Amber alert, along with Khalil Tatum. That`s why the image you showed earlier in the broadcast, they were looking for that man. There are other people they believe know something.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s get into that. At first, cops were just looking for Tatum, the janitor who apparently called himself Dr. Tatum. But then they announced they were seeking another man in the investigation and released this photo of this man.

We`re hearing tonight that cops have now talked to this man in what looks like -- he looks like he`s in a Metro station. And police say he cooperated. So we don`t want to point any aspersions at this person. But they said he couldn`t give them or he didn`t give them any information to help the investigation.

A friend, I will say, not necessarily this person, but a friend reportedly gave Khalil Tatum a ride from the hotel in Maryland where detectives believe he killed his wife to a nearby Metro station. So there is some kind of metro station connection to this case.

Melissa Young, the grandmother of this missing child, do you know anything about other people in this case? Because you have said that there is a conspiracy of silence, that there were more people than just this janitor involved. Now we hear this other man being brought in for questioning. We don`t want to say anything about him. But because -- because the police are not saying he`s a suspect whatsoever. I want to make that clear. But what do you think about the possibility of other people being involved?

M. YOUNG: That`s what I feel, that other people is involved. Because he`s deceased. They still don`t know her whereabouts. And I think somebody -- somebody else does have her. I really do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, one of the reasons why authorities were very afraid that this child might be dead, is that the last time she was seen was March 1. That`s according to cops, even though family members dispute that and claim they talked to her afterwards. Cops say March 1 is the last time she`s seen.

March 2, this janitor buys garbage bags, a shovel and lime, which is something that`s used to bury a body and hide the smell. But, yet he proceeds to go to the shelter where the mother is staying, for weeks after that, and nobody reports the child missing. And so at this point, now that he`s committed suicide, we don`t know whether this child is dead or alive or where on earth she is! Where he could have put her!

MURPHY: Yes. I mean...


MURPHY: Try and draw some bold inferences for a minute. First of all, if you have $4,000 and the kid is missing you could at least, oh, I don`t know, offer it as a reward! Which they didn`t do. Forget about an apartment.

LEIBERMAN: Absolutely.

MURPHY: But here`s something so obvious. I think we all probably feel this way. There appears to be a quid pro quo. Somebody sold the kid, and the cash was handed over. The question is, who buys children? And this is a black family. I mean, are you kidding me? If this is a case about selling humans, is this not degrading?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happens all of the time.

MURPHY: So profoundly un-American.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t think we can make those outright claims right now. What we can say is the grand jury is reportedly considering obstruction of justice charges against the missing girl`s mother.

We`re just getting started. Phone calls lining up. More on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police have released surveillance video of a hoodie-wearing man stepping off an escalator. A person detectives want to talk to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have strong belief that somebody else has her. (END VIDEO CLIP)



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there Tatum has sold her. And I believe she is alive. We need to expand our search in other states. There is a lot of predators preying on these children.

He was always giving money to these young girls.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where is 8-year-old Relisha Rudd? The whole world at this point wants to know.

Now, a lot of people have pointed the finger at her mother, Shamika Young. According to "The Washington Post," Shamika has posted some very disturbing things on her Facebook page, including, quote, "high as a kite." She also once wrote, "Sometimes I wonder why I have kids." This is a mother of four, one of them missing.

But Shamika told WRC she doesn`t think her daughter`s disappearance is her fault.


SHAMIKA YOUNG, RELISHA`S MOTHER: I wasn`t under the impression that she -- that she was missing. I was under the impression that she was still at my sister`s house, where I left her and under the care of my mother.

I didn`t actually let this man or give this man my daughter.

I don`t really feel responsible. Why I don`t feel responsible, because she was in the care of my mother and my sister.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but the mother and the sister say that`s not true. She was in Tatum`s care.

Now here is that woman, Relisha`s mother`s fiance, with a giant wad of cash in his mouth, the photo taken around the time Relisha vanished in February. And we`re hearing that the mother got $4,000 in a car accident settlement, reportedly.

I want to go to Dr. Gabe Crenshaw, psychologist. We do know that a grand jury is reportedly considering obstruction of justice charges against the mother of the missing child. What do you make of everything that has been revealed so far in the show tonight?

DR. GABE CRENSHAW, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, you know what, all arrows point to the mother. This is child neglect. This is child abuse. And actually, child neglect is actually the most frequent type of abuse.

What is extremely disturbing to me, Jane, is to hear the mother actually say, you know, "I don`t feel bad. It`s not my fault that my daughter is missing." I`m wondering where is the empathy, where is the outrage, where is the sheer horror that my daughter is out there in the world somewhere unprotected?

But because of the neglect, seemingly, she has given her daughter over to strangers and men. You know, there are 1.2 million kids trafficked each year in America. There are so many things to consider when you`re inside of a homeless shelter to begin with. I don`t know any mother that doesn`t constantly check on her child, even when they`re in the care of a loved one.

There are a lot of missing pieces here, but they all point to the mother. Her neglect, her misuse of her parental authority. And this scapegoating, passing the blame. What is wrong with her? I don`t get it. I don`t get it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, we`ve got -- go ahead, Brian Claypool.

CLAYPOOL: Yes, Jane, I have one solution to get to the bottom of where Relisha is. Arrest her mom for not only obstruction of justice but for aiding and abetting the commission of child abuse and also child endangerment.

Put her in the hot seat. Have her facing many years in jail.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And put the squeeze (ph) on her.

CLAYPOOL: And maybe you`ll get some answers.

CRENSHAW: Well, get her sober. Get her sober.


Eboni K. Williams, I agree. Put the squeeze on the mother.

CLAYPOOL: You might get some answers.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: To get the answers...

CRENSHAW: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... of what`s really going on.

CRENSHAW: Exactly.

EBONI K. WILLIAMS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, certainly, Jane. I think that`s exactly...

CLAYPOOL: And maybe the stepfather, too.

WILLIAMS: ... reconvening (ph).



LEIBERMAN: Jane, ask...

WILLIAMS: That`s certainly what the point is in this grand jury convening. There is not really any, to my knowledge, what I see, evidentiary, there`s not really probable cause for an actual indictment to come back.

But certainly, that`s the point of threatening to have the jury convene in the first place, is to get this mother to stop playing games, stop giving these officers the run-around and start being truthful and forthcoming.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, now we have...

LEIBERMAN: They`re already put the screws to her. I mean, they`ve already put the squeeze on her. Short of an arrest...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, she`s in hiding.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They want to squeeze everybody.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang on one second.

LEIBERMAN: Let me finish. Let me finish. Let me finish. They have -- they can`t seem to get the truth out of her. That`s what`s been the most frustrating part for law enforcement. They`ve questioned her nearly a dozen times, and they`ve gotten half dozen different stories.


CLAYPOOL: Isn`t this probably cause, or...

LEIBERMAN: ... hopefully, she`ll answer the questions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me go back to the grandmother, one second.

I agree with you. Put the squeeze on the mom. But we`ve got Melissa Young, the mother of the mother you`re talking about right now, the missing child`s grandmother on the phone. And I understand you`re getting heated about some of the comments that are being made, Melissa.

M. YOUNG: I sure am. Like the one about getting my daughter sober. My daughter does not indulge in drugs. They`re talking about my daughter`s appearance on every one of her news appearance that she did in her plea for her daughter. My daughter was born with big eyes. When my daughter cries, her eyes get extra big.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know. Look...

M. YOUNG: I mean...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Melissa, on Facebook, the "Washington Post" is reporting...

CRENSHAW: Mrs. Young -- Mrs. Young...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on a second. The "Washington Post" is reporting that on Facebook your daughter posted, quote, "high as a kite," "Sometimes I wonder why I had children."

M. YOUNG: My daughter hang around people; they get high. But my daughter herself doesn`t get high. I can`t even get my daughter to drink at my birthday party.


M. YOUNG: I can`t get my daughter to do -- like when her cousins come over to observe my birthday party, her cousins try to get her to drink and do what they do. They can`t even get my daughter to do none of that.

As far as -- I understand where they`re coming from, where with her posts and her pictures and stuff. It`s...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Gabe -- Dr. Gabe, you wanted to say something to Melissa Young, the missing child`s grandmother.

CRENSHAW: Yes. Yes, thank you, Jane. And Mrs. Young, in all due respect, I know this is a very difficult time for you.

M. YOUNG: I don`t want you to say nothing.

CRENSHAW: Look, no, I don`t want you to hang up. Honestly, I feel for you. I have empathy for you and your family, and I understand what`s going on. But I`m sure you...

M. YOUNG: No, because every time I -- I`m not defending my daughter in any of her actions. But every time I get ready to speak on, like what CPS said, like with the last interview. They ask me a question about what CPS said as far as when they was coming out in 2007.

Yes, they have been dealing with my daughter since 2007. But every time CPS came to her home, my daughter`s home was clean. There was food in the refrigerator.

CRENSHAW: I understand.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in here. One second. Let me just jump in. One second, ma`am. Here`s the thing. On camera, on tape, that we played, your daughter says, "Well, she was with" -- and then she mentions you. But she wasn`t with you.

M. YOUNG: I didn`t see any of those interviews.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We played it. We`ll play it again.

M. YOUNG: Where she`s putting the blame on me and her sister. I only hear about those interviews from, like, you all, the news itself and the police. I haven`t heard her say, you know, she...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But she said it on our air. Can we play it again for the grandmother?

M. YOUNG: Yes, I haven`t heard that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL Because I really think that it would be good to play it for her so that she can hear that we`re not saying it. It`s her daughter who says, well -- that Relisha was with you, but she wasn`t with you. So we`re trying to cue that up. Go ahead.

M. YOUNG: And as I stated before, if they really want to know the last time Relisha was with me, every place I went, there is cameras. When Relisha last stayed with me, I was staying with a friend of mine named Sophia. Relisha spent the night at her house -- at her sister`s house with her and her daughter. They have a camera in that building. It`s a transitional apartment-style living. They have cameras in that building. If they go up there and pull that tape, you will see my granddaughter entering that building with me. You will see my granddaughter...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to break.

M. YOUNG: ... leaving the building with me. Other than that, you only see me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But what date was that? What date was that? What day?

M. YOUNG: I can`t recall the exact dates. But if they pull the tape, the tape will be time stamped with the date and the time. I can`t myself - - I have so many appointments going on in my head day after day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. I understand, ma`am. Listen, we`re going to cue up the sound bite of your daughter saying that she was with you when cops say she was with this guy and there`s video of him [SIC] with this janitor. And then we`ll get your response to that and also the calls lining up. Stay right there.

And later -- later on, we`re going to have complete chaos. Thousands of college students riot in a street hall, attacking police, some of them, in drunken -- drunken violence. What the hell is going on here?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight-year-old Relisha Rudd, last seen alive in northwest D.C. on March 1 in the company of Khalil Tatum, the janitor at the homeless shelter where she lived. The next day, Tatum bought a shovel, lime, garbage bags and spent hours at Kenilworth Park. And weeks later, police found him dead in the park in an apparent suicide.



S. YOUNG: Under the impression that she -- that she was missing. I was under the impression that she was still at my sister`s house where I left her and under the care of my mother.

I didn`t actually meet this man or give this man my daughter.

I don`t feel responsible. Why I don`t feel responsible? Because she was in the care of my mother and my sister.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So Melissa Young, your daughter just said it, that she was in the care of you.

M. YOUNG: Right.


M. YOUNG: I`m looking at the -- I got it tuned into the news now, and I see the same thing that you all played for the first time since she made that statement.

And my husband on his phone, he has a picture of little -- two pictures that little Relisha took with his phone when she last was in my care. And the time and the date stamps on those pictures is February the 12th -- right? -- 2014. That`s the last time she was in my care.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. So we`re talking a long time after that, you know, she -- she has never been seen since March 1st. So the idea that your daughter could say that, oh, I thought she was with my mom and my sister, I got to bring our panel in for a second.

Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, we do know that there is a grand jury that`s reportedly convened to ponder a possible obstruction of justice charges against the mother.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes. And they can take this evidence that was just unveiled on your show into account which is that the mom lied. Because she said her mother was taking care of the child and the mother just said nope, that`s a lie at least in terms of this gap in time.


MURPHY: Here is an interesting issue about this obstruction of justice charge. It`s great to squeeze people like this that are clearly not telling the truth and don`t have the right affect about their missing child. The problem is they`re not very serious felonies. Maybe you get five years.

We need to make obstruction of justice regarding somebody`s knowledge when they are the parent of their own missing child -- that needs to be a 25-year felony. 1.2 million children in this country trafficked every year.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on -- one at a time. I`m sorry. One at a time. Yes, quickly, Dr. Gabe. And then we`ll go to Brian. Ok, Brian first.




CLAYPOOL: Jane, I`ve got some new evidence I`d like to give to the grand jury, too. Ask Melissa Young if she can give you a copy of a settlement agreement that this father, stepfather, allegedly got money from. Can she give you a case number and also the name of the case where they got this $4,000 settlement? I would like to see that information. Because if they can`t provide that to you, then I think that`s additional evidence that the grand jury needs to question and find out where they got the $4,000. Was it for child trafficking?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me (inaudible) for the published report. The published report says an attorney could -- she said, according to this published report, that an attorney could confirm the settlement and provide his name. The name of the -- the attorney has not returned the calls, according to this published report, about the very questions.

CLAYPOOL: Wow, ooh.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go to the phone lines quickly. Carol, Alabama, you`ve been waiting a long time -- Carol, Alabama.

CAROL, ALABAMA (via telephone): Yes. I do believe that Tatum was working at that homeless shelter. I believe he was given drugs. I believe that that mom and that child to him, they never, ever wondered where she was at, because they knew where she was at. If my child was not going to school or not coming to that shelter, don`t you know I would be raising all kind of ruckus. No because the mom knew where she was at. She didn`t have a reason to. She knows she had told her. She was done.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Let me say this. Carol -- let me say this. First of all, the mother of this child is invited on our show any time or her attorney or her fiance. We want to get all sides of the story. We don`t want to imply that somebody has done something wrong without giving them the opportunity. And we don`t know whether she has done something wrong. We`re just saying, it`s very odd a lot of coinkydinks (ph), if you know what I mean.

On the other side, we`re going to go to Dr. Gabe Crenshaw, who is -- in fact, everyone on our panel is absolutely hands up wanting to weigh in on this. And our calls are lining up. We`ve got new information. We haven`t gotten to all of the new information.

You will not believe what the "Washington Post" has reported about the back story of this child and indeed the back story of her mother -- next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, Relisha, sweet peas. Set Relisha free to come home to her mother, father and her brother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Questions about her relationship with Tatum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`ll tell you, she is at Tatum`s house, he`s good.

MURPHY: Who let`s the janitor take the kid?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s a child. She`s a baby. And just thinking of her out there in the woods alone is just --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police have released surveillance video of a hoodie-wearing man stepping off an escalator -- a person detectives want to talk to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have strong belief that somebody else has her who has her, who is protecting her, who is looking out for her well-being.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel that this little girl is alive.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where is eight-year-old Relisha Rudd? Now, take a look at this photo. Authorities say they have now interviewed this man in connection with this case, and he was unable to provide any useful assistance in finding little Relisha. And then we`ve got other breaking developments in the form of a photo of the missing child`s stepfather with a wad of cash in his mouth, taken reportedly around the same time as the child disappeared with also word surfacing in published reports that the mother of the missing child got $4,000. But you heard her mother, the missing child`s grandmother, say that was from a car accident insurance settlement.

I want to go to Gaetane Borders, president of Peas in Their Pods and advocate for missing children. You know a lot about how these things work. I think the ultimate question we want to know is, is this child dead or alive? Where is she? Could she have been handed off to someone else who might still have her, given that all these new possibilities have now emerged?

GAETANE BORDERS, PRESIDENT, PEAS IN THEIR PODS: Absolutely. I mean, there are more question marks in this case right now than there are answers. There`s definitely a possibility that she could have been handed off. She could have been sold into the sex trade, marketing world. Who knows?

But what we do know about Relisha, she does fit that prototype because she was young. She was poor. She was homeless -- essentially neglected by reports. And this definitely is the characteristics of a child that usually falls prey to this type of thing. Not to mention, let`s just say, that the mom also played a role in this. And I`m not going to back down from that statement.


BORDERS: I know "allegedly". But we know that there was a whole lot of confusion and the mom was not helpful in the beginning when that was her role to be.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And look, it`s coming out in this in-depth "Washington Post" article where they went and they talked to everyone, they saw confidential files. And the people at the school say she would show up filthy, clothes dirty hair and empty stomach, although she is a highly intelligent girl who had a lot of potential.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Relatives told "Washington Post" she faked asthma attacks so that she wouldn`t have to go back to the homeless shelter where her family lived with her for two years since she was five years old. And they also report that Child and Family Services got at least three complaints involving Relisha and her siblings and cops were called at least twice.

So I mean just the idea, Dr. Gabe, that a child is living at a homeless shelter for two years. It`s supposed to be temporary housing.

CRENSHAW: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now the "Washington Post" is reporting that 600 children live in that same shelter.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, are we looking at potential other Relishas here?

CRENSHAW: I mean, of course, easily. We definitely can and when we are looking at irresponsible parenting and even alleged drug abuse. And let me just say on behalf of Relisha. If in fact -- I mean, her mother. If, in fact, drugs are an issue for her, then that is a disease. And so some of the lying that we might see her doing: where her daughter was; was she with her mother; was she with her sister; and there is a lot of seemingly fabrication. However, if in fact her drug of choice for instance is alcohol, then that is actually (inaudible) and she could be confabulating. I`m not saying that she is but I`m saying --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Grandmother says she doesn`t drink. Although as a recovering alcoholic with 19 years sobriety, high as a kite --

CRENSHAW: Congratulations.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you. It`s not about alcohol usually -- high. You usually are drunk, you`re wasted, you`re toast.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to give Jon Leiberman the last word. You have been doing so much reporting on this. Last word -- short please.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. The reality is, this little girl`s life, unfortunately, has been a slowly unfolding tragedy for many years. And that`s what led us up to this point. It is sad all the way around.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I got to say we`re going to stay on top of it. We want to find her. And I pray, pray, pray that she`s still alive. If you have her, anyone, just drop her off. At a hospital, a fire station, a convenience store, anywhere. And just go away.

A man fighting for his life tonight, beaten unconscious by an angry mob after he accidentally struck a young boy with his truck. We`re going to talk to one of his daughters on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Steve Utash`s son and daughters are happy they`re dad is alive after he was ruthlessly beaten by a group of people on Detroit`s East Side. Utash was driving along Morang when he accidentally hit an 11-year-old boy. The 54-year-old got out of his car to help the child, but was attacked. He is now in critical condition. The boy is ok.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, shocking surveillance video captures what the mayor of Detroit calls a senseless vigilante-style attack on a driver. Cops say Steven Utash was pummeled, kicked and punched over and over again by a group of people after he accidentally struck a 10-year-old boy with his car.

The child has a broken leg and he`s recovering fine. But the 54- year-old driver suffered severe head injuries to the point where he was left unconscious and is in critical condition. A retired nurse rushed to the scene and says she`s the only one out of nearly 100 people that tried to stop the vicious attack.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little boy was lying there, and he said his head was hurt and I kept trying to say things to him to cheer him up. I saw the man get out of his truck. I saw him walk down and he said "Oh, my god. Did I do this? Is he all right?" And then they just you know, got him and started beating him and stomping him and kicking him and -- and it wasn`t right. I told them, don`t kick him no more. Don`t hit him no more, don`t do anything. Get back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joining me now, an exclusive interview with Steven Utash`s -- the driver, his daughter, Felicia. I`m so sorry that you`re going through this, and I understand your dad is very badly injured and I do hope he recovers. What was your reaction when you found out that this had happened to him?

FELICIA UTASH, DAUGHTER OF STEVEN UTASH: I think we were just shocked, because, you know, it`s like we got a phone call from the hospital or anything. We saw it on the news. We see my dad`s truck being towed away on the news.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And how is he doing? I understood he was in critical condition.

UTASH: Yes, he`s still in the ICU. I actually just left there, and he hasn`t fully come to yet. He doesn`t know he`s at the hospital still. Yes. He`s still doing pretty bad, unfortunately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bystanders say that your dad got out of the car after the accident to try and help the 10-year-old boy -- that this was not a hit and run.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it lasted about one minute, and then they let him go, and then they jumped back on him again. And then like -- they did it about three times. And finally, you know, somebody was trying to help the guy that got beat up.

It was sad, because I knew the guy got out of his car trying to see what damage he did.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So far, there have been four arrests. A 16-year-old currently in juvenile detention, but he hasn`t been charged. A 30-year-old and a 24-year-old man also in custody and a 17-year-old is charged with assault with intent to murder and do great bodily harm. Cops believe up to a dozen men were involved in this attack.

So Felicia, your dad, is it your understanding -- because the reports are that he really didn`t do anything wrong. That he wasn`t driving excessive speed. He wasn`t going through a crosswalk at the wrong time. That he basically -- this was an accident. The child skipped in front of the car and that there was no reason to beat him up.

UTASH: Exactly. It was -- my dad was stepping out of the car, doing the right thing and he got punished for it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I mean he stayed there, and he didn`t drive away. Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, can up to 12 people get charged with very serious assault with intent to murder?

MURPHY: I hope so and then some. I would charge them with everything I could because this is like the Roman Coliseum. I mean it makes me so nervous to watch this kind of animal behavior.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, let`s not break in the animal. Let`s not talk about that.

CRENSHAW: No, no. Hold on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on one second. Dr. Gabe. Wait a second. Let Dr. Gabe speak.

CRENSHAW: No. Please. Thank you. It is not so much the animal behavior. All right, real quick. You`ve got the bystander effect happening. I can`t speak for the gentlemen who were there. But there are a lot of things happening in the news these days where you`ve got, you know, police officers, you`ve got the Alfred Wright case, you`ve the recent 10-year-old boys who were playing in Georgia, where they were accosted by the police. You`ve got the kid who is wrapped up in the mat.

And I think if we can sort of refrain perhaps this behavior, it`s tragic what happened. But if we get into the minds of those guys, they`re not animals. That perhaps what they saw was maybe the man was going to come and continue to do some harm. Because we see --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s not that kind of --


CRENSHAW: It`s just about -- just trying to reframe it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s take a short break. I know -- I know on the other side you all have a lot to say about this. We`ve got another crazy mob we want to tell you about -- this one on a college campus, too. Stay right there.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t see it happening. My concern honestly was on David. But then, I thought they had stopped I`m not 100 percent sure. Again, my whole thing was on my godson at that time. We do not condone that at all. I talked to mom and she just was like, no, we would not want that to happen.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, that`s the relatives of the boy who was injured and then this other man, the driver was beaten up and some are describing this incident in racial terms. Now, I want to talk to our panel about that. But let me first show you another mob scene and this one is massive. Nearly 15,000 people riding at spring break, UC Santa Barbara -- 100 people arrested, 44 people injured, all hell broke loose. One cop seriously injured and five others also injured. I mean this is a full scale riot.

And yet, Eboni K. Williams, attorney, radio personality, this one nobody describes it in any kind of racial terms.

EBONI K. WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY: No they don`t Jane. And I think to put any type of racial lens on either incident is actually just very distracting from the root cause of why this is happens so consistently. The reason is when this type of gang violence and mob mentality breaks out, there`s no individual accountability -- Jane.

These are people that collectively in their actions being absolutely defiant to what society deems as normal and standard. Because there`s no accountability as individual this will continue to happen until we actually say we`re just not going tolerate it and hold these people accountable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Dr. Gabe first of all, what I was saying --

CRENSHAW: But we have tolerated it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- that it`s kind of a double standard in the sense - -

CRENSHAW: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- that the first incident was immediately described on the Internet and elsewhere in racial terms. Black guys beating up a white guy. This is a full scale riot that doesn`t seem to involve many African-Americans and nobody is describing it in racial terms, you get my point?

CRENSHAW: And they never will, because we have a society that has -- we`ve absorbed the bad behavior of a lot of the white counterparts, you know, they are just blowing off some steam. It`s spring break, you know what -- things just they did not get out of control, we just kind of got loose a little bit, you know. But when it`s an African-American group, all of a sudden this is what thugs do, it`s a result of poor parenting and it`s negative social skills. We have in our society a place for that. We tolerate it.

LEIBERMAN: Can we add some facts into this discussion too? The fact is law enforcement in Detroit in the latest incident, they are re- interviewing witnesses and they`re exploring the possibility of either state or federal hate crime charges in that case. That is a fact.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there.

CRENSHAW: I think that`s extreme.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a fascinating discussion. And Nancy Grace has more fascinating stuff, next.