Caregiver Charged With Murder
Geralyn Graham, who was supposed to be taking care of Rilya Wilson, a foster child, confessed to her murder while in jail on unrelated fraud charges, officials say.
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Date of Death:
Jan 18, 2001 - Mar 17, 2005
Age Range at Time of Death:
4 - 8
Hair (Color, Description, Facial Hair):
Scars and Tattoos:
- Has a scar five inches below her navel
Last updated March 16, 2005
Mar 16, 2005
Ex-Caregiver Charged With Murder
Rilya Wilson's disappearance in 2001 scandalized Florida's child-protection agency, but prosecutors say they now know what happened to the 4-year-old and charged one of her caretakers with murder.
Geralyn Graham, who was supposed to be taking care of the foster child, confessed while in jail on unrelated fraud charges, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade state attorney, said Wednesday. Investigators later found corroborating evidence, she said. "She basically broke down and told someone in the jail details about Rilya Wilson, including how she killed her," said
Fernandez Rundle, who declined to give details.
Graham was previously charged with kidnapping and aggravated child abuse covering the time before Rilya's disappearance. No body has been found, prosecutors said. Graham is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Friday in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, officials said. Graham's attorney, Brian Tannebaum, denied the charge."That's based on a jailhouse snitch," he said. "They have no other evidence."
DCF In Trouble
Rilya's story became known three years ago when it was discovered that she was not living at the home she shared with Graham and another woman, Pamela Graham, who was Rilya's legal guardian. The Grahams, who are not related, claimed a state social worker had taken the child in early 2001 for medical testing and never returned with the girl, who was 4 when she was last seen. The girl's disappearance had gone unnoticed by the Florida Department of Children & Families for months. The scandal led to a major shake-up at the agency, as well as a search for the girl.
Prosecutors refused to give details on how they determined to charge Geralyn Graham, and the indictment doesn't mention any evidence. The indictment did allege, however, that Rilya was either suffocated or beaten to death sometime in December 2000.
Tannebaum said, "This is a woman who they charged with kidnapping without any evidence that she took the child anywhere and now they've charged her with the murder of a child they have not located."
Graham is in jail on unrelated fraud charges and could have a court appearance as early as March 17, 2005 on the new charges, said state attorney spokesman Ed Griffith.