Jury selection begins Monday in the murder case against the Miami caretaker whose foster child, Rilya Wilson, vanished more than a decade ago, rocking the state’s child welfare agency.
Geralyn Graham, 66, is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated child abuse. Rilya’s body has never been found.
The high-profile case sparked massive public interest and drastic reforms at the Florida Department of Children & Families, which placed Rilya with Graham and her lover in 2000.
Graham maintains her innocence.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
DCF did not realize Rilya had vanished from the Grahams’ home until April 2002, more than a year after she was last seen, because her case worker had not checked on the girl.
Graham told case workers that an unidentified DCF worker — a “tall, heavy-set, light-skinned woman with an accent” — came to pick up Rilya.
A Miami-Dade grand jury indicted Graham in 2005 after a jailhouse informant claimed Graham confessed to smothering the girl and dumping her body in a canal.
Jury selection begins in front of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez, and is expected to last several weeks.