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PostSubject: Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P.   Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. Icon_minitimeMon Oct 05, 2009 4:07 am

Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. 706195 Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. 706195 Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. 706195
Where is Rilya Wilson?
State of Florida loses child, doesn't notice for 16 months
Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. 10z0flu
Posted: May 17, 2002

By H.P. Albarelli Jr.
© 2009 WorldNetDaily.com

It's a bureaucratic nightmare beyond comprehension: How a state social services agency could lose a 4-year-old girl and for 16 months fail to notice or report the incident.
That's the case of Rilya Wilson, who was lost by the state of Florida and whose whereabouts, despite national media coverage of the incident, are still a mystery.

Rilya vanished sometime in January 2001. Given the strange circumstances, nobody is sure of the exact date. At the time, Rilya – whose name reportedly stands for "Remember, I love you always" – was living in the home of sisters Geralyn and Pamela Graham. Geralyn Graham has been reported to be Rilya's paternal grandmother. Florida's Department of Children and Families had placed Rilya in the Graham home as part of its foster care system.

Rilya was born on Sept. 29, 1996. Her mother, Gloria Wilson, was homeless and addicted to crack cocaine. Rilya's alleged father is said to be a habitual criminal. Rilya was Gloria's second child. Gloria's first child had already been taken away from her by the state of Florida.

Two years after Rilya was born, Gloria Wilson had another baby that the state also took from her. That baby was placed in the home of Geralyn Graham, who says she is the mother of Rilya's father.

In April 2000, Graham requested that Florida's Department of Children and Families, or DCF, also place Rilya in her Miami home. She said she wanted to legally adopt Rilya. At the time, Rilya was being raised in another Miami home by the daughter of a 78-year-old woman who had befriended and was attempting to help Gloria Wilson.

DCF complied with Graham's request, despite that issues had been raised about the true identity of Rilya's father. Florida officials, who declined to speak on the record, say that at least "two men claim to be Rilya's father" but that "no DNA tests have been conducted to resolve the confusion yet." Graham told the Miami Herald two weeks ago that her son "has 14 other children by several different women." Graham has also stated that she "never signed" any paperwork before or after Rilya was placed in her home.

According to a May 12 Associated Press story by Allen G. Breed, not long after Rilya was placed in the Graham home, Graham complained to several DCF employees that Rilya was "acting very weird."

Graham also called Rilya's social worker, Deborah Muskelly, to make the same complaint. A short while later, according to Graham, in early January 2001, a woman knocked on her door and, speaking with a foreign accent, explained that she had come to pick up Rilya for a "psychiatric examination."

It is not clear if the unnamed woman showed Graham any identification credentials or documents. However, Graham told the Miami Herald that the woman "knew all about Rilya and Muskelly." Strangely, the Miami Herald reported that Graham called Muskelly a month after Rilya was taken and asked when the girl was going to be returned to her home. Graham told the newspaper that Muskelly said, "Don't worry. … The child will come back to you."

Rilya has not been seen, or heard from, since the day the mysterious woman picked her up, and nobody claims to know where she is. The May 12 Associated Press article states, "Graham ... said she had continued receiving and cashing checks – more than $1,600 in all – for Rilya's care during her absence, saying DCF had told her to."

Eight months after Rilya's disappearance, in August 2001, with still no sign of or word from Rilya – and no reports to anyone that she was missing – Muskelly, according to the Miami Herald, was filing reports indicating that she had routinely visited the Graham home and that Rilya's "needs were being met."

Last month, after DCF officials became aware that something was terribly wrong with Rilya Wilson's case, they waited at least a week before notifying police and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, despite that their own regulations require them to do so within "three working days."

Internal DCF e-mails obtained by the Herald reveal a chilling picture of bureaucratic ineptitude. One administrator wrote, "This one scares me." Another message to Muskelly's supervisor read: "When are you going to notify law enforcement that the child is missing?" Another close assistant to DCF's top administrator wrote, "... just keep remembering, it can always be worse."

After DCF noticed that Rilya had vanished, officials also became aware that employee Muskelly had "falsified client visit records and case documents." DCF officials say there was "no way to know sooner."

According to the Herald, "district DCF chief Charles Auslander said last week that January 2001 was the last entry by Muskelly in Rilya's case file."

Auslander additionally said that Muskelly – who was allowed to resign from her DCF position on March 20 or "face termination for filing falsified documents" – reported several times to a circuit court judge overseeing Rilya's custody that the little girl was "safe and being well cared for" during the months that she was actually missing. Others within DCF maintain that Muskelly obtained "advance signatures on reports confirming visits" to Rilya – meaning that Muskelly likely had several or more blank forms signed in advance of home visits that never occurred.

According to DCF records and supervisory officials, Muskelly was less than an exemplary employee. Officials say that she was demoted at least twice during her 17-year career with the agency. DCF spokeswoman LeNedra Carroll said that Muskelly's supervisors had "numerous concerns" about her job performance.

Muskelly, according to the Miami-Dade state's attorney's office, is now the subject of a criminal investigation. A spokesman for that office said yesterday, "It is not inconceivable that others may be added to the list."

DCF caseworkers, who refused to be identified for this article out of fears of "being fired," said that supervisory problems within the agency are "endemic." Said one worker, "Managers here pretty much do what they want without any guidance from above. There's not much sense of mission or urgency on anything." Another worker said that DCF supervisors "dropped the ball on Rilya's case long before Muskelly messed it up."

A Naples Daily News article this week by Catherine Wilson said, "Some outsiders suggested a 'bunker mentality' exists among [DCF] rank-and-file workers."

As might be expected in a state where politics seem to line every cloud and ray of sunshine, Rilya's disappearance has become an issue in Florida's gubernatorial campaign.

Last week, gubernatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said at a campaign stop that the state "has to do more" to prevent children like Rilya from ever having to enter the state's system to begin with. Quipped one observer, referring to the 1993 Waco siege, "This from a woman who ordered tanks into a building full of innocent children?"

Florida's governor, Jeb Bush, has come under heavy fire for what has become widely known as the "Rilya matter." People close to Bush say that he was "initially very angered about the case" but has since "been convinced that it is an aberration" in an agency that was "just beginning to get its act together." Bush composed a blue-ribbon investigatory committee almost immediately after he learned of Rilya's disappearance. The committee is charged with making recommendations on fixing persistent problems within DCF. Its report is due at the end of the month.

Last week, Bush said he "still has confidence in Kathleen Kearney," the secretary of the Department of Children and Families. Kearney, a political appointee who was formerly a juvenile court judge, has rejected sporadic calls for her resignation, saying that Rilya's social worker bears the blame in the case. Meanwhile, some DCF workers have privately complained that Kearney is "too far removed from the day-to-day realities of this agency" and that "she has no experience in managing a workplace and budget this large."

On Tuesday, Florida newspapers revealed that Rilya's assumed paternal grandmother, Geralyn Graham, has used "at least 33 aliases" and that "lawyers [in unrelated civil cases] have questioned whether she was a con artist or severely mentally impaired."

A May 15 report in the St. Petersburg Times stated, "Florida's child-welfare agency [DCF] has said it didn't know Rilya Wilson's caretaker used numerous aliases before [Rilya] was placed in her home. ... But Geralyn Graham's bogus names were contained in a court subpoena served on [DCF] as part of a personal-injury lawsuit involving Graham." The subpoena was served on DCF officials six months before Rilya was placed in Graham's home.

Last weekend, the mystery of Rilya Wilson's disappearance was featured on "America's Most Wanted" television show. Florida law-enforcement officials were hopeful that the show would "produce leads about this little girl's whereabouts" but now report that "nothing of any value was generated."

Meanwhile, Rilya Wilson is gone, and the days are ticking away.
Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. 706195 Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. 706195 Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. 706195

Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. 2vvrv44
"Each one of us has a fire in our heart for something. It's our goal in life to find it and to keep it lit."

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Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. Vqozyf

Rilya Wilson: One Short Life
by preperowlifick in Sociology, July 17, 2008
A four year old child is missing from a foster home for fifteen months. No one reports her missing. No one from Social Services notices she is missing. The foster “person” receives and continues to cash and spend the welfare checks sent each month for her care. Little Rilya Wilson has not been seen and is presumed dead at the hands of her foster “person”.

This is a true story. By the time you reach the conclusion, you’ll wish it were fiction. You’ll wish it were not true in the case of the little girl named Rilya Wilson and you’ll wish it were not true for all the other children adrift in the foster care system down in Florida. Hello Governor Jeb Bush. I think the proverbial buck stops right in the middle of your desk…

“What can I do?”

“I have no idea. I’m not smart enough to be Governor but you’re supposed to be.”

“What did you do?” I ask the social workers.

“What could we do?”

“I don’t know, I’m not trained to be a social worker.”

Read more in Sociology
« Foster Care in IndiaBasics in Body Language »I acknowledge that it’s a quagmire of a situation. But when one of you simply forgets a little girl is no longer where she should be, raise hell. If that doesn’t work – call in the journalists. Do something. Anything to try to find her.

Overworked, of course and I know most of you do your best. But if you didn’t visit all children you were supposed to check on – tell somebody.

As far as anyone now knows, Rilya Wilson disappeared at the age of four years from the foster home she was placed in. Ironically, her mother named her Rilya as an acronym for “Remember I Love You Always.”

Before she succumbed to a life of crack use, I’m sure she meant that. How does a little pre-school girl disappear down in Florida? Does she wander off in a department store? Is there suspicion of a kidnapping? What is the usual procedure for a parent or caretaker to follow when this frightening situation occurs?

Go to a store security guard for help. They can announce that a child is missing over the pa system. Describe her and what she’s wearing. Ask other shoppers to look around for her. Security surveillance cameras can be checked to see if she walked out of the store with a stranger. They should immediately watch the entrance to make sure she stays inside the store if she isn’t already gone. In a short time call the police.

Anyone who watches TV can describe the procedure they follow. Interview parents and other relatives and caretakers. Put the child’s picture on TV. Allow the parent to be taped and shown on TV describing the child as well as showing her picture to the general public.

If Rilya disappeared from her foster home, what reason can the caretaker give for taking no action to find her. There is no apparent reason – except – she already knew where the child was. Is that why the foster mother didn’t take any steps to find the little girl – she knew exactly where Rilya Wilson was – because she was the one who put her there. For the next fifteen months the foster mother received and cashed the checks sent by the State of Florida to pay for Rilya’s care.

The whole story of Rilya is a tangled web of happenings. Born to a mother who gave her the unusual name which stood for “Remember I’ll Love You Always.”

Unfortunately crack cocaine got in the way of motherly love and good intentions. Rilya ended up in the foster care system. Understandable that the mother was a helpless crack addict who couldn’t even care for herself. One has to wonder though how any trained social worker in Florida or anywhere else could have placed the child where she did. Who in authority left her in the care of a woman with the history that Geralyn Graham has?

After Rilya disappeared in 2001 the foster care system was scrutinized and astonishingly it was determined that another 652 children were not where they were supposed to be. The state alleged that most of those missing were runaways and the rest MAY have been taken by their biological families. With the spotlight on the situation, state officials traced the paths of most of the children. In December of 2002 it was proudly announced that they reduced the number of “missing children” to “about 100.” But when the attention of the press returned to other matters, the number quickly multiplied to an even higher number of missing kids than there were before all the attention from the newspapers.

Governor Bush may we ask what you are doing about this. What do you require of the Department of Children and Family Services? Once again Rilya Wilson, whose body has never been found, became a blip on the screen of public concern. Her absence had not been noticed for fifteen months and it’s not surprising that she once again slipped into obscurity.

Fortunately there has been some retribution. Geralyn Graham her “caretaker” was charged with murder when she couldn’t explain where the child was or why she didn’t know where she was for fifteen months. The charges against her included three counts of aggravated child abuse, kidnapping and murder. A grand jury convened and it was determined that Rilya was suffocated or beaten to death in December of 2000.

There is no valid reasoning behind the Florida Department of Children and Family Service’s decision to place Rilya Wilson in the home of Geralyn and Pamela Graham. Although there is a requirement to check birth certificates and other identification before making one a foster parent, this woman with a prison record, a history of severe mental illness and an abysmal way of life was given this helpless little girl.

The Florida authorities were unable to charge Pamela or Geralyn Graham in the little girl’s disappearance. Their statement included these words,”We believe the individuals we arrested today are the best source we have right now to the whereabouts of Rilya,” said Doyle Jourdan, Regional Director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“Certainly, from what you can see, they’re not exactly individuals we can trust.”

A confusing bit of information is that Pamela Graham had physical custody of Rilya when she disappeared although it was previously stated that Geralyn Graham was her official caretaker. Another inaccuracy was that now Geralyn Graham claimed to be Pamela’s sister as well as Rilya’s paternal grandmother. This could actually be true if you can wade through the headache of trying to unravel the complexities of the situation. Geralyn Graham has more than forty aliases. She also has a collection of Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses. It so confused prosecutors that they now claim to have no idea who Geralyn Graham actually is. The Florida authorities do admit that they now know the two are related only by avarice – not by blood.

At this time the authorities in Florida are unsure of Geralyn’s identity and refer to her as Jane Doe. Furthur, there is no reason to believe she is related to Rilya Wilson (referring to her claim to be the child’s grandmother). The State Attorney for the Southern District of Florida in Miami said the following, “Some of the facts that we know are that there is no evidence – none whatsoever – to support the claim that Jane Doe, also known as Geralyn Smith, also known as Geralyn Graham, is a blood relative to Rilya Wilson. We do know that Jane Doe is the central figure in a series of frauds that depended on having physical custody of Rilya Wilson, and that was the only way she was able to successfully pull them off.”

“Pamela Graham played a pivotal role in making these frauds work, and she is the one that tied it together, and the two of them began to train the younger ones” was the statement made by the prosecuting attorney (referring to Leo and Jacqueline Epson, the children of Geralyn Graham also known as Jane Doe).

Rilya Wilson has to this date never been found.

Yes, this is a true story. A story of a little girl whose life included spending time locked in a dog cage. A story of how the wicked stepmother (social services) sent her off to live with the big bad wolves (Geralyn and Pamela) to spend her few brief years of life in a way more horrifying than a Steven King Novel. Authored by the Department of Children and Family Services in the State of Florida and published by lack of concern.

Yes, this is a true story…


Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. 2vvrv44
"Each one of us has a fire in our heart for something. It's our goal in life to find it and to keep it lit."

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Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. 2191lsl
The system failed Rilya Wilson
Miami Times
May 14, 2002
Children do not simply slip through the cracks of a bureaucracy; they are
lost and forgotten by case workers and officials.

Such is the case of Rilya Wilson, the chubby-faced girl who has gone
missing for 15 months while in the care of the Department of Children and

The Department of Children and Families should be overhauled from top to
bottom to make sure that such an incident does not repeat itself. Though
the case worker assigned to Rilya has resigned along with Kearney her
direct supervisor, the shake up should go straight to the top to include
DCF state ...

Documents reveal Rilya Wilson may have been harmed by caretakers.
News Wire article from: Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service ...Megan O'Matz and John Holland MIAMI _ Days before Rilya Wilson disappeared, her caregiver hit the girl on the legs...prosecutors. Geralyn Graham, the woman who took care of Rilya Wilson, made the admission after failing a lie detector test...

Homicide a possibility in Rilya case: Where is little Rilya Wilson? Troubled state agency in crisis
Newspaper article from: Miami Times ...search for missing 5-year-old Rilya Wilson continues, officials began investigating...found in Kansas City is that of Rilya Wilson. The tests could take anywhere...with her shoddy handling of the Rilya Wilson case. Muskelly resigned from DCF...

Profile: Judge blasts Florida Department of Children & Families for mishandling of case of Rilya Wilson, a missing five-year-old
Transcript from: NPR Morning Edition ...Families for mishandling of case of Rilya Wilson, a missing five-year-old Host...missing five-year-old girl. Rilya Wilson was in the state's foster care...court judge assigned to monitor Rilya Wilson's case. Yesterday, she had...

School attendance mandatory under Rilya Wilson Act
Newspaper article from: Miami Times ...Miami Times 10-07-2003 "Rilya Wilson is the only child under the care...Rilya's seventh birthday, the Rilya Wilson Act requires children who have...unrelated to Rilya, talked about the Rilya Wilson Act during a Miami press conference...

Support Rilya Wilson Act now
Newspaper article from: Miami Times ...2003 More than 800 days after Rilya Wilson disappeared in state care, lawmakers...Yolly Roberson have proposed the Rilya Wilson Act, which would require most...whereabouts. Had a law such as the Rilya Wilson Act been on the books before her...

Back of the Book: Gibson Discusses Rilya Wilson.
News Wire article from: The America's Intelligence Wire ...closely following the tragic story of Rilya Wilson, and today, there may have been...all right, were in the home with Rilya Wilson. Where is Rilya? What do they...Pam Graham gave a statement that Rilya Wilson was actually looked in a basement...

Back of the Book: Gibson Discusses Rilya Wilson
Transcript from: The O'Reilly Factor (Fox News Network) ...closely following the tragic story of Rilya Wilson, and today, there may have been...all right, were in the home with Rilya Wilson. Where is Rilya? What do they...Pam Graham gave a statement that Rilya Wilson was actually looked in a basement...

Analysis: Investigation into missing foster-care child Rilya Wilson leads to firing of top Florida foster care agency executives
Transcript from: NPR All Things Considered ...into missing foster-care child Rilya Wilson leads to firing of top Florida...shocked last spring when little Rilya Wilson's foster parent, Geraldine Graham...s fairly clear that she used Rilya Wilson as her instrument to defraud the...

Rilya Wilson is not Precious Doe, DNA test show.(Knight Ridder Newspapers)
Newspaper article from: Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service ...Lab experts compared the DNA of Rilya Wilson's mother, Gloria, to that of...Roberts. "Precious Doe is not Rilya Wilson. To our dismay, Precious Doe...But the agency did not realize Rilya Wilson was missing until last month...

Rilya Wilson is not Precious Doe, DNA test show.
News Wire article from: Kansas City Star ...Lab experts compared the DNA of Rilya Wilson's mother, Gloria, to that of...Roberts. "Precious Doe is not Rilya Wilson. To our dismay, Precious Doe...But the agency did not realize Rilya Wilson was missing until last month...

For more facts and information, see all results : http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P1-79466737.html

Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. 2vvrv44
"Each one of us has a fire in our heart for something. It's our goal in life to find it and to keep it lit."

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Rilya Wilson
News about Rilya Wilson, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times.

Woman Accused of Killinga Missing Child in Florida
A caretaker for Rilya Wilson, the foster child whose disappearance four years ago exposed serious flaws in Florida's child-welfare system, was indicted.

March 17, 2005National Briefing | South: Florida: Missing Girl's Caregiver Says She Lied
Pamela Graham, former caregiver of Rilya Wilson, Florida foster child who disappeared in 2001, says she lied when she backed up roommate Geralyn Graham's story that state social worker had picked up girl and never returned her; Pamela Graham is cooperating with prosecutors after pleading guilty to neglecting and abusing Wilson

October 8, 2004National Briefing | South: Florida: Abuse Charges In Missing Child Case
Florida authorities announce that Rilya Wilson, whose unsolved disappearance shook Florida's child welfare agency, was caged and tied up before she vanished; abuse charges are filed against her two guardians Geralyn Graham and Pamela Graham

August 19, 2004National Briefing | South: Florida: Prison For Foster Mother
Rilya Wilson's foster mother, Geralyn Graham, is sentenced to three years in prison for accepting welfare payments long after girl vanished in Florida

May 30, 2003'Crisis Mentality' At Families Agency
Report finds continuing problems with child abuse investigations and foster care in Miami division of Florida's Department of Children and Families, year after caseworkers admitted losing track of five-year-old Rilya Wilson

April 27, 2003Two Years After Girl Disappeared, Little Has Changed in Florida Agency
Little has changed in Florida Dept of Children and Families since 4-year-old child in its care, Rilya Wilson, disappeared two years ago; caseworkers are still overburdened, hundreds of foster children are still missing, and agency continues to struggle with backlog of child-abuse investigations; agency's new administrator, Jerry Regier, estimates that he needs budget increase of almost $500 million to raise salaries, hire 1,000 additional workers and give bonuses to keep workers already looking...

January 19, 2003National Briefing | South: Florida: 88 Children In State Care Remain Lost
Investigation launched by Gov Jeb Bush of Florida fails to account for 88 missing children in care of Department of Children and Families; investigation started in light of Rilya Wilson case

December 18, 2002National Briefing | South: Florida: Lost And Found Children
Special panel that investigated whereabouts of hundreds of children missing from state care in Florida accounts for most children; Gov Jeb Bush ordered review in wake of Rilya Wilson case

December 4, 2002National Briefing | South: Florida: Charge In Missing Child Case
Deborah Muskelly is charged with working as substitute and adult education teacher at time when she was supposed to be working as Florida social worker, monitoring, among others, Rilya Wilson, 5-year-old who disappeared in custody of state welfare system; photo

October 19, 20022 Charged With Fraud in Missing Girl Case
Two caretakers for Rilya Wilson, Miami girl who was missing for 15 months while in state custody before anyone noticed, are charged with multiple counts of fraud for continuing to collect benefits for child long after she vanished; at time of her disappearance, Rilya lived with Pamela Graham, who had custody of her, and Geralyn Graham, who claimed to be her paternal grandmother; law enforcement officials stop short of calling Graham sisters suspects in disappearance, but say women could be key ...

National Briefing | South: Florida: Panel Reports On Missing Children
Florida panel says list of almost 400 'missing' foster children was exaggerated, with few in any physical danger and many considered chronic runaways or children who had been taken by noncustodial parents; Gov Jeb Bush ordered formation of panel after case of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson, who was missing for 15 months before Department of Children and Families noticed

September 20, 2002Child-Agency Troubles Rise for Gov. Bush
Pressure mounts on Florida Gov Jeb Bush for drastic measures to overhaul state's child welfare system, following beating death of two-year-old Alfredo Montes, hours after state welfare worker, Erica Jones, claimed she visited home; department says visit never occurred; Jones is charged with falsification of records under new law enacted after department lost track of four-year-old Rilya Wilson, who has never been found; baby sitter, Richard Chouquer, is charged in Montes murder

July 19, 2002Children Suffer as Florida Agency Struggles
Disappearance of four-year-old Rilya Wilson more than year ago while under care of Florida's Department of Children and Families shows that reform of state's child welfare system has been less impressive than Gov Jeb Bush or agency have acknowledged; situation has embarrassed Bush at onset of re-election campaign and energized opponents; even though Bush has moved swiftly to control damage by appointing committee to investigate agency and taking pains to praise its progress since taking office,...

July 1, 2002Florida Governor Backs Most Proposed Child-Welfare Changes
Gov Jeb Bush vows to carry out most of recommendations of blue-ribbon panel for fixing Florida's troubled child welfare system in response to disappearance of 5-year-old girl in state's care; panel's mix of short- and long-term proposals are attacked as superficial and unimaginative by critics of system

May 29, 2002Panel's Report on Missing Girl Recommends Changes in Florida
Child-welfare officials in Florida agree to enact dozens of recommendations made by special panel that examined case of Rilya Wilson, 5-year-old girl whose disappearance was not noticed by authorities for more than year; panel's report will be given to Gov Jeb Bush, who had appointed panel; panel blames 'in-the-trenches malfeasance' by girl's caseworker, Deborah Muskelly, Muskelly's supervisor Willie Harris and girl's guardian Geralyn Graham; photo

May 28, 2002Urgent Plea Made for Data On Lost Girl, Papers Show
Child-welfare records show that lawyer representing Florida Dept of Children and Families made urgent plea last August for information about Rilya Wilson, Miami girl who had vanished seven months earlier; even with plea, however, girl's absence went unnoticed by state for eight more months; photo

May 26, 2002Miami Police Investigating 2 Overseers Of Missing Girl
Miami-Dade police conduct criminal investigation into caseworker and guardian who were supposed to protect missing 5-year-old Rilya Wilson; authorities say guardian, Geralyn Graham, misrepresented her custody of child so she could get food stamps, cash and medical assistance she was not entitled to; say that in January 2001, month child disappeared, caseworker Deborah Muskelly wrote that girl was 'happy and well cared for'; state claims Muskelly falsified doucments about visits to girl that nev...

May 25, 2002Florida Files Reveal Harsh Life of a Missing Girl
Child welfare file of Rilya Wilson, 5-year-old Miami girl who has not been seen for more than a year, show that her early years were filled with rejection and abandonment, with only brief flashes of apparent contentment; girl was taken from her mother, Gloria Wilson, when she was 5 weeks old after investigation into accusations of neglect

May 24, 2002National Briefing | South: Florida: Attempted Baby Abduction
Two men posing as Department of Children and Families employees try to abduct 8-month-old baby in Miami; police say they have no reason to believe there is connection between case and that of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson, whose grandmother says she was taken away 15 months ago by someone she thought was department employee

May 21, 2002National Briefing | South: Florida: Law Bans Fake Child-Custody Papers
Florida Gov Jeb Bush signs into law bill making falsification of of documents related to custody a felony; move is prompted by case of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson, missing for five months despite being under state protection

National Briefing | South: Florida: Special Session Yields Budget
Florida lawmakers wrap up 15-day special session by passing $50.4 billion budget; make it felony for any state employee to falsify or destroy any public records dealing with children in state care; move is in response to concerns about case of Rilya Wilson, 5-year-old who disappeared while in care of Department of Children and Families

May 14, 2002DNA Tests Show Girl's Body Is Not That of Miami Child
Police say DNA tests show body of dead girl found in Kansas City, Mo, and adopted posthumously by city as Precious Doe is not that of Rilya Wilson, 5, Miami girl who disappeared while under state supervision and was missing for 15 months before state officials discovered disappearance; Miami police say women Rilya lived with, Pamela and Geralyn Graham, who claim to be paternal relatives, failed portions of lie detector test; records show Geralyn Graham was diagnosed with dementia in 1996; case ...

May 11, 2002Democrats Sense Gov. Bush Of Florida Could Be Beaten
Florida Democrats sense vulnerability in Gov Jeb Bush's re-election bid and are pressing him to act more forcefully in case of Rilya Wilson, 5-year-old girl who disappeared while under state supervision; Bush has been besieged by questions about state's handling of case; photo

May 9, 2002Florida Judge Says State Worker Lied in Court About 5-Year-Old Girl Who Vanished
Miami-Dade Juvenile Court Judge Cindy Lederman hotly criticizes Florida Dept of Children and Families in hearing on case of missing 5-year-old girl Rilya Wilson; says agency misled her about girl's welfare; says Deborah Muskelly, girl's caseworker, told her that child was thriving in her grandmother's care in hearing in Mar 2001, two months after girl disappeared; says agency and grandmother each believed other was caring for her; judge calls agency's handling of case 'despicable' and lashes ou...

May 7, 2002Agency Makes Shift After Loss of Child
Florida's Dept of Children and Families makes changes because disappearance of 5-year-old girl in its system went unnoticed for more than year; Miami Herald reports that agency waited six days to alert police of disappearance of child, Rilya Wilson

May 6, 2002National Briefing | South: Florida: Missing Girl Now Feared Dead
Prosecutors in Florida suspect Rilya Wilson, missing 5-year-old girl, is dead because of length of time since she was last seen; child was under state custody

May 4, 2002Case of Lost Miami Girl Puts Focus on an Agency
Florida officials and child advocates say disappearance of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson while in state custody is just extreme example of overburdened agency's struggle to keep up with demands of caring for increasing number of vulnerable children; Kathleen Kearney, secretary of Department of Children and Families, accuses caseworker Deborah Muskelly of filing false reports of monthly visits with girl and her supervisor Willie Harris of failing to review case file; they have resigned under pressure

May 3, 2002Mother Criticizes State System For Losing Girl in Its Custody
Interview with Gloria Wilson, mother of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson who disappeared 15 months ago while under care of Florida's social services system; former crack addict whose parental rights were terminated says authorities took no better care of her daughter than she had; photo

May 2, 2002Palm Prints Don't Match, And a City Still Grieves
Palm prints of little girl found decapitated in Kansas City year ago fail to match those of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson, who disappeared 15 months ago while under care of Florida's social services system, dashing hopes that dead girl adopted posthumously and mourned by city's residents would finally be identified; photos

May 2, 2002Miami 5-Year-Old Missing For Year Before Fact Noted
State and local officials are looking for Rilya Wilson, 5-year-old Miami girl who was supposed to be in custody of Department of Children and Families but who no one noticed until week ago had been missing for more than year; photo

Links to ALL articles: http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/w/rilya_wilson/index.html?offset=0&s=newest

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PostSubject: Re: Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P.   Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. Icon_minitimeMon Oct 05, 2009 4:30 am

Missing girl's caretakers charged
Thursday, August 19, 2004 Posted: 10:35 AM EDT (1435 GMT)

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Nearly two and half years after little Rilya Wilson disappeared without a trace, police have charged her main caregiver with kidnapping and child abuse.

Geralyn Graham is already in prison for both identity fraud and Medicaid fraud for accepting payments on behalf of Rilya after she no longer had the child in her care.

Rilya remains missing. If she is still alive, she will turn 8 years old on September 29.

Graham's former domestic partner, Pamela Graham, also is charged, with two counts of a lesser degree of child abuse/neglect.

If convicted, Geralyn Graham could be sent to prison for at least 30 years, while Pamela Graham could be sentenced to up to 10 years.

Authorities discovered Rilya's disappearance in April 2002.

Geralyn Graham has long maintained she turned over the child to a Florida child welfare worker about 15 months earlier after asking that the state take charge of the child for alleged behavioral problems at home.

The state has insisted it had no record of anyone from its agency picking up the child. But Florida officials also admitted they had lost track of the child in the state system.

Police: Caretakers failed lie detector tests
Geralyn Graham has consistently denied she ever abused Rilya and denied she had any role in the child's disappearance.

As recently as April, she told CNN, in a jailhouse interview, "As far as I remember, the last time I saw Rilya was when I put her in the car with the lady [from the Florida Department of Children and Families] and fastened her seat belt."

At a news conference Wednesday, Miami-Dade Police Director Bobby Parks said investigators never believed the Grahams' version. Both women failed lie detector tests when interviewed early in the case, police said, indicating deception in questions about Rilya.

"This was really a lie and I emphasize it was a fabrication, a concoction in an attempt by Geralyn Graham to cover up Rilya's disappearance," Parks said.

"Regrettably ... it's unfortunate that we still have to report that we have not located Rilya."

Parks would not elaborate on what evidence he may have to support the allegation of kidnapping.

One suspect is cooperating
Police said Pamela Graham is cooperating with the investigation.

Geralyn Graham's lawyer, Brian Tannebaum, told CNN he suspects Pamela Graham is doing so to save herself from further prosecution. She was sentenced to probation on Medicaid-related fraud charges.

Pamela Graham's attorney could not be reached for comment. As for his client, Tannebaum said, "I'm not surprised they're charging her. [The police] never believed Geralyn and Pamela. I don't know how these charges are going to help them find Rilya. Their goal is to find Rilya. So is Geralyn's. She says she has told them everything she knows."

Parks would not comment on why he views the charges as appropriate.

"We are comfortable these are the charges to be levied, based on our investigative findings," he said. "We have reached a conclusion that DCF did not remove the child from the premises."

Pamela Graham's attorney said he isn't impressed, telling CNN, "The way that agency is run with all its mistakes, why is that surprising?"

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle said, "Our hope is that with these additional charges, we may be able to find her."

CNN correspondent Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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PostSubject: Re: Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P.   Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. Icon_minitimeMon Nov 30, 2009 11:05 am

NY judge: Slain student's kin can sue government
from Miami Herald 2 months ago

…best known for her public scolding of state child welfare administrators following the 2002 disappearance of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson, a Miami foster child, Lederman often has used her perch on the juvenile bench to press for better treatment of abused and…

Trial date set for accused killer of Rilya Wilson
from South Florida Sun-Sentinel 2 months ago

…Ed Griffith. “Her actual name is irrelevant,” Griffith said. “We are charging her with first-degree murder in the death of Rilya Wilson, and we believe we have enough evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.” Sakin said the multiple names are due to…

Judge doesn't show his hand in Coyotes case
from Miami Herald 2 months, 2 weeks ago

…best known for her public scolding of state child welfare administrators following the 2002 disappearance of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson, a Miami foster child, Lederman often has used her perch on the juvenile bench to press for better treatment of abused and…

Judge doesn't show his hand in Coyotes case
from Pakistan News.net 2 months, 2 weeks ago

…best known for her public scolding of state child welfare administrators following the 2002 disappearance of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson, a Miami foster child, Lederman often has used her perch on the juvenile bench to press for better treatment of abused and…

No lawsuit over this slip-and-fall
from Miami Herald 2 months, 4 weeks ago

…best known for her public scolding of state child welfare administrators following the 2002 disappearance of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson, a Miami foster child, Lederman often has used her perch on the juvenile bench to press for better treatment of abused and…

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PostSubject: Re: Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P.   Rilya Shenise Wilson (4) R.I.P. Icon_minitimeMon Nov 30, 2009 11:06 am

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: January 18, 2001 from Miami, Florida
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: September 29, 1996
Age: 4 years old
Height and Weight: 3'0, 40 - 50 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: African-American female. Black hair, brown eyes. Rilya has a scar approximately five inches below her navel. Her ears are pierced. Some agencies give her middle name as "Denise."

Details of Disappearance

Rilya and her two siblings were removed from their mother's custody when Rilya was an infant. They were placed with Geralyn (alternatively spelled "Gerrilyn") Graham, their alleged grandmother or godmother, in Miami, Florida in 2000. Their mother, Gloria Wilson, abused cocaine and neglected her children. Her parental rights were eventually terminated. Photos of Gloria and Graham are posted below this case summary. Florida's Department Of Children and Families (DCF) was obligated to check on the children's well-being during monthly visits. The final recorded visit for the family took place in early January of 2001, when their counselor, Deborah (sometimes spelled "DeBorah") Muskelly, stopped by Graham's residence.
Graham told authorities that an unidentified African-American female arrived at her home in the 10100 block of southwest 145th Place on January 18, 2001. The individual claimed to work for the DCF and said that she was removing Rilya from the home for an evaluation. Rilya was reportedly diagnosed with behavior problems prior to the visit. She has never been heard from again. Graham said that the alleged abductor spoke with a thick accent that may have been African in origin. Graham claimed that the woman was extremely familiar with Rilya's history and said that Muskelly was aware of her visit. Graham stated that two other people visited her home in February 2001 and requested additional toys to help Rilya become accustomed to her new surroundings.

Muskelly and her supervisor, Willie Harris, resigned from the DCF in March 2002 amid accusations that records of home visits were fraudulent. The agency contacted Graham during its investigation into Muskelly's records. Authorities learned about Rilya's possible abduction in April 2002, 15 months after the child disappeared. Graham said that Muskelly was not one of the individuals who visited her home one month after Rilya disappeared. Muskelly's attorney said that his client offered to cooperate with authorities regarding Rilya's case. He also claimed that Muskelly was being used as a scapegoat by the DCF to mask its own internal problems.

Muskelly was criminally charged with 41 counts, including grand theft, relating to her alleged deficiency at her job. She pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct and had the grand theft charge adjudicated and was sentenced to five years' probation. The other 39 charges were dropped. Muskelly admitted that she billed the state for pay as a social worker for times when she was actually at her other job as a teacher. The state sought $5,000 in restitution for Muskelly's salary, sick pay and vacation pay. She now works for an insurance company and has not been charged directly in connection with Rilya's disappearance.

Graham told several media outlets that she contacted Muskelly several times after Rilya was removed from her home. She claimed that Muskelly told her that the child would be returned shortly. Graham admitted that she continued to cash checks from the state of Florida for Rilya's care after the child had disappeared. Graham said that she called the DCF to report the error, but maintains that she was instructed to keep the money due to the difficulty in the re-application process. DCF officials said that they have no record of Graham's phone calls and only learned of Rilya's disappearance on April 25, 2002, which is the date when she was reported missing. Graham said that she believes Muskelly was aware of the circumstances surrounding Rilya's disappearance, but nothing has been proven.

The DCF has been under scrutiny for some time as bureaucratic mistakes in other situations were discovered. The agency has since acknowledged that it failed Rilya. Investigations into the DCF's errors are ongoing and are resulting in political problems for some of Florida's elected officials.

Investigators believed Rilya was a victim of foul play quickly began treating her case as a possible homcide. Authorities noticed that Rilya's physical characteristics were similar to those of "Precious Doe," an unidentified African-American child who was brutally murdered and discovered in the Kansas City area in April 2001. DNA tests ruled out any match between Rilya and the unidentified child in May 2002. In 2005, Precious Doe was identified as Erica Michelle Maria Green, a three-year-old who had never been reported missing.

Gloria told reporters Graham was not Rilya's paternal grandmother. Graham denied that statement, but admitted her son, Kenneth Epson, never took a paternity test to confirm if he fathered the child. Graham maintains that Gloria has claimed several men fathered Rilya, but none of the allegations have been proven. Gloria said that she met one of Graham's daughters in a substance abuse rehabilitation center prior to Rilya's birth. She said that she elected to name Graham as Rilya's godmother. The actual relationship between Graham and Rilya is unclear.

Manville Cash claimed to be Rilya's father in early May 2002. He is currently imprisoned after being convicted of automobile theft and drug charges. Cash was named as Rilya's prospective father on papers terminating Gloria's parental rights. He has never taken a paternity test to prove his claims. Cash told the media that he saw Rilya three times a week prior to his incarceration. He said that he saw the child for the final time at her third birthday party at Pamela Kendrick (often referred to as Pamela Graham, but she is unrelated to Geralyn Graham)'s home in Brownsville, Florida.

Kendrick is Cash's aunt and Gloria allowed her to take custody of Rilya shortly after her birth. Rilya was removed from Kendrick's house in April 2000 after allegations of neglect surfaced. Kendrick denies any wrongdoing in Rilya's case. Rilya and the other children were placed in Graham's custody shortly thereafter. Kendrick and Graham are also sisters and Kendrick occasionally uses her maiden name.

Authorities removed Rilya's siblings from Graham's care in early May 2002. Graham hired an attorney and claims that there was no reason for the custodial change. Investigators have reportedly adminstered polygraph exams to several of Rilya's relatives, but the results have not been publicly released.

Media reports revealed that Graham has used 42 different aliases over the past 20 years. She was convicted of food stamp fraud in Tennessee during the 1980s and was sentenced to probation in Florida as the result of theft charges. Reports stated that Graham filed at least eight lawsuits for personal injury compensation, child support and racial discrimination charges throughout the years. Graham has been sued by twelve creditors and was named in seven landlord-tenant disputes. A physician diagnosed Graham with a psychotic syndrome similar to schizophrenia months before Rilya and her siblings were placed in her custody. Her attorney claimed that the stories deflected attention away from the DCF's errors. He also said that Graham used numerous aliases in an attempt to hide from an abusive former boyfriend during the 1980s. Graham continues to maintain that she suffered severe injuries and memory loss in a vehicular accident in the mid-1990s.

Gloria has admitted that she was not able to care for her children while she struggled with her cocaine addiction. The DCF was aware of possible problems at her home since 1996, when a neighbor became concerned that Gloria's children were being neglected. She relocated to Cleveland shortly after Rilya's birth. She said that she told the DCF about her plans. Graham told the media that Gloria's anger over Rilya's disappearance was contrived and said that she had not spoken to her daughter since 1999. Gloria claims that the agency instructed her not to contact her children after leaving Florida. Gloria is continuing to attempt to regain custody. Her counselor supported her claims of soberity. Gloria has never publicly identified Rilya's father and at least one additional man has claimed Rilya is his child. Authorities said that testing to determine her paternity is not being conducted at the present time.

Investigators stated that Graham failed a polygraph exam that was conducted in early May 2002. Kendrick also showed signs of deception in the results of her lie detector test. Muskelly's attorney told the media that Graham did not tell his client about Rilya's behavioral problems. He also claimed that Graham failed to report an accurate account of her conversations with Muskelly after the child disappeared. Graham's lawyer denied the allegations and emphasized that polygraph results are not admissible in court.

A Miami pastor and his wife came forward in mid-May 2002 and announced that they have had custody of Rilya's older sister for several years. The couple told the media that Gloria joined their church in 1995 and promised to improve her life with their assistance. Rilya's half-sister was an infant at the time and the couple said that Gloria neglected her. They provided material goods for the child until Gloria asked them to care for the baby during a weekend. She never retrieved her and the child has resided with the couple since that time. Court records indicate that Gloria was given numerous chances to rehabilitate herself during the following years, but she has not seen her daughter since 1996.

The couple decided to finalize the adoption process in the late 1990s, but their DCF case worker was Muskelly. They claimed that Muskelly neglected to check on the child's welfare and was not easily located. The pastor said that Harris, Muskelly's former supervisor, visited their family after Rilya's case came to attention in April 2002. He said that Harris claimed the DCF had "too many" cases to track and defended himself and Muskelly. The couple received word that the DCF was preparing adoption papers for them in April 2002. They had been asking for the documents for years beforehand.

In mid-May 2002, a judge ruled that Rilya's younger sister, Rodericka Wilson, was neglected by DCF officials and by Graham and Kendrick. The judge stated that Rodericka suffered from developmental problems and an untreated eye condition. Neither the DCF nor her caregivers provided needed medical care when necessary.

Media sources speculated that authorities may begin searching locations in the Miami area for possible evidence in the near future. The reports have not been confirmed. Investigators said that they have not received any tips regarding Rilya's whereabouts. America's Most Wanted profiled Rilya's case in mid-May 2002, but the producers omitted a sketch of the unidentified female Graham claims abducted the child in 2001. The series's representatives stated that the most accurate sketches were created before witnesses viewed lineups or photos of possible suspects. Graham looked at numerous photos at the DCF's headquarters after Rilya's disappearance was reported; the sketch was considered compromised as a result.

Media reports stated that officials located a witness who may have seen Rilya and Graham together in February 2001, one month after Graham claimed a DCF worker removed the child from her home. A medical worker reportedly told investigators that Rilya accompanied Graham and Rodericka during the latter's checkup. Graham denied that Rodericka's physician saw Rilya. In addition, sources allege that Graham may have falsified Rilya's vaccination records in 2001 to continue receiving state benefits for the child's care. Documents reportedly state that Rilya was vaccinated after she disappeared. Sources claimed that the doctor who signed the papers never saw Rilya on the specified date.

Authorities continued to focus on Graham and Kendrick's actions in their investigation. In October 2002, the two women were charged with stealing over $14,000 from the state of Florida. Officials stated that Graham and Kendrick engaged in fraud by accepting funds from the state for Rilya's care after she disappeared. They were later convicted; Graham was given a prison term and Kendrick was placed on probation. Authorities stated that both women have consistently failed lie detector tests in connection with Rilya's case. Graham allegedly told at least six people that an unnamed Spanish woman had taken Rilya on a trip to New York or New Jersey, after the individuals noticed the child's absence but before the DCF did. She said the Spanish woman intended to adopt Rilya.

When confronted by police about her changing story, Graham said the woman returned Rilya before the DCF worker picked her up and she vanished. She denies abusing or killing the child and has stated that she believes Rilya is still alive. Graham says Kendrick is making up the abuse allegations to escape a long prison sentence.

In August 2004, two and a half years after Rilya vanished, Graham was charged with kidnapping and three counts of child abuse, and Kendrick with two lesser counts of child abuse/neglect. Kendrick pleaded guilty to neglecting and abusing Rilya, but not to harming her, and was sentenced one year less a day in prison, followed by five years' probation. She promised to testify against Graham at her trial. She says both of them spanked Rilya with switches, locked her a cage and in the laundry room, and occasionally handcuffed her to her bed at night. Kendrick denies any knowledge of what happened to Rilya, however, and claims she asked Graham that question several times and got no answer.

In March 2005, Graham was additionally charged with first-degree murder in connection with Rilya's case. Investigators believe the child was suffocated or beaten to death sometime in December 2000, a month before Graham says Rilya disappeared and over a year before the DCF found out about it.

A large part of the evidence supporting the charges came from information provided by Robin Lunceford, a former cellmate of Graham's, who says Graham confessed Rilya's murder to her. Lunceford said Graham told her Rilya had "demons" from her previous abuse experiences and was "evil." She said she smothered Rilya because the child was suffering and would grow up suffering. Graham supposedly buried her body in a ravine near a private lake where Rilya had previously gone for fishing and cookouts.

A photograph of Lunceford is posted below this case summary. She is a career criminal with fifteen convictions for robbery and a history of prison escapes, and she was awaiting trial for another armed robbery charge when Graham supposedly confessed to her. Graham's defense has questioned her credibility, due to her criminal history. In June 2005, Lunceford ceased cooperating with authorities and stated that she would not testify against Graham unless she could get a much-reduced sentence for the robbery in return for her testimony. The prosecution offered twenty years; Lunceford wanted three. Earlier, she had stated she had gone to the police with her information out of conscience and was not expecting leniency in exchange for her cooperation. At Graham's bail hearing in August 2005, Lunceford invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refused to testify against her. Graham was granted an unusually low bail, $100,000, due to the weakness in the case against her. Usually bail in a first-degree murder charge, if granted at all, is much higher than that.

Lunceford was convicted of the armed robbery in September 2005 and sentenced to the maximum, life in prison without the possibility of parole, under Florida's habitual violent offender laws. It appears unlikely that she will testify against Graham, but Graham's prosecutors stated that the trial would proceed with or without Lunceford, as they believe the case against Graham is strong enough as is. Kendrick is cooperating with the prosecutors and told them she had nothing to do with Rilya's disappearance but knew all along that Graham was making up the story about the DCF worker coming to take Rilya.

Graham has been unable and remains incarcerated, awaiting trial on the pending charges. Rilya has never been located, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.


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