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Arrests in Fla. Missing Girl Case

October 2, 2002

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MIAMI (AP) _ The former caregivers of Rilya Wilson, whose disappearance exposed disarray in Florida’s child welfare agency, were arrested Wednesday on fraud charges.

Geralyn and Pamela Graham were arrested on several charges related to Rilya’s disappearance, said Ed Griffith, spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. He would not give further details.

Griffith said other relatives would also be arrested but he would not give details.

Pamela Graham’s attorney Joshua Fisher said his client was ``not informed they were going to be arrested or why they were arrested.″

Rilya lived with Graham, who had legal custody, and Graham’s sister Geralyn, who had claimed to be her paternal grandmother, from April 2000 until January 2001.

That’s when Geralyn Graham said a state child-welfare worker took her away for evaluation, never to be seen again. Rilya, who was 5 at the time, was supposed to receive monthly state visits but was not reported missing until last April 25 because of a bureaucratic blunder.

Geralyn Graham has at least 33 aliases and a long history of criminal and civil court cases, according to court records. In reams of documents, lawyers question whether Graham is a con artist or severely mentally impaired. A judge said both might be true.

Rilya’s case resulted in the resignation of top child welfare administrators at the Department of Children & Families, including DCF Secretary Kathleen Kearney.

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