Friends puzzled by the disappearance of the little girl. State child welfare administrators stunned at the vanishing of the 4-year-old foster child. A slew of police investigators dispatched to work the case.
A pathetic shell of a woman, cowed by an older lover into keeping her silence. Three prison inmates — one an eccentric con with a long rap sheet — who said they learned the truth about the crime while behind bars.
For eight weeks, these were the witnesses who testified against Geralyn Graham, who is accused of murdering foster child Rilya Wilson more than a decade ago. And on Tuesday, their photos adorned an eight-foot-long timeline poster board, suspended from the ceiling by chains of paper clips as a Miami-Dade prosecutor weaved each of their stories into a chilling. if circumstantial. narrative.
Graham, driven by festering hatred for little rambunctious Rilya, smothered the girl with a pillowcase, disposed of her body and for years concocted a web of “fanciful” tales to hide the crime, the state said.
“Lies, deceit and coverup,” Miami-Dade prosecutor Joshua Weintraub told jurors during closing arguments.
The arguments come more than a decade after Rilya disappeared, a case that rocked the Florida Department of Children & Families, which for 18 months did not realize the girl was missing. Authorities never found Rilya’s body.