This child disappeared out of the foster home and was not even looked for until two years later. Here is it eleven years later and there still has been no justice for her. What is wrong with this picture. The saddest part is her body has never been found. The Agency that was supposed to protect her allowed her to not only get murdered, they added to the injustice by never finding her body. They should be held accountable as well as the foster care provider who murdered her.
The Foster care provider continued to get money for her every month as did the Miami Dade CPS agency that took her in the first place.
Trial nears for woman charged with killing Rilya Wilson
MIAMI — Rilya Wilson is still missing.
The foster child’s disappearance in 2000, and the uproar after its belated discovery, led to sweeping changes in the state’s child welfare system. But no one knows for certain whether the chubby-cheeked 4-year-old fixed forever in a single official photograph is alive or dead.
Next month Rilya’s onetime caregiver, accused of kidnapping, abusing and smothering her, is scheduled to stand trial in an oft-delayed case that poses the ultimate challenge for prosecutors.
“In a homicide case, generally there is a body, and there is not one
When Graham was indicted by a Miami-Dade grand jury in March 2005 on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated child abuse, prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty.
But at a hearing earlier this year, they quietly abandoned that quest, opting instead to ask for life in prison. While confirming the decision, State Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Terry Chavez said last week that she could not elaborate.
Asked if the absence of a body led to the decision, Chavez responded, “There are always many factors that come into play when putting together a complex homicide case such as this one. Choices and decisions are based on an overall understanding of the case, not on any single issue.”
Sakin said the state’s dropping the death penalty shows “there are no aggravating factors, no body, no evidence of how she might have died.”
However difficult the prosecution’s task, the trial is expected to feature sensational details and colorful witnesses. It will throw a spotlight on the Department of Children & Families months after another highly publicized failure.
The allegations of abuse and caseworker inattention are similar to those leveled after the death of Nubia Barahona. In February the 10-year-old Miami girl was found dead in the back of her adoptive father’s truck parked alongside Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County.
Jorge Barahona and his wife, Carmen, face murder charges in that case and, if they are convicted, the death penalty.
“Two precious lives were lost, and in both cases that did not need to be,” said David Lawrence, a former newspaper publisher who led panels that examined the actions of the state’s child protection agency in both cases.
Speaking of Rilya Wilson, Lawrence said, “Shame on us if we cannot get justice for this little girl.”
Born to a drug-addicted mother, Rilya was placed in a foster home in the care of Pamela Graham. Geralyn Graham, no relation, lived with her in Kendall.
Over the years, news reports, court documents and an investigation into Rilya’s disappearance have included allegations that she was tied to a bed and locked in a small laundry room, kept in a dog cage, and often bore bruises, scratches and other injuries.
The indictment alleges that Rilya was either suffocated or beaten to death sometime in December 2000.
When Graham was indicted by a grand jury in March 2005, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said, “she basically broke down and told someone in the jail details about Rilya Wilson, including how she killed her.”
That someone is believed to be career criminal Robin Lunceford, 48, who once shared a holding cell with Graham.
Lunceford told prosecutors that Graham admitted smothering Rilya with a pillow because the child insisted on wearing an “evil” Cleopatra costume instead of dressing as an angel for Halloween.