Rilya's legal custodian returns to stand
Updated On: Dec 19 2012 12:22:39 AM EST
The legal custodian of missing foster child Rilya Wilson testified again Tuesday, admitting to lying when she was questioned by police about the girl's disappearance.
Pamela Graham, 48, told jurors she never reported abuse involving the 4-year-old girl — including being tied to a bed with her wrists in plastic restraints — because she feared her live-in lover and the girl's main caretaker, Geralyn Graham, who is on trial for murder in Rilya's.
But during cross examination, she admitted to lying about why they disciplined Rilya.
"You also told police Rilya would urinate and defecate on the floor?" asked defense attorney Scott Sakin.
Yes," replied Pamela Graham.
"Was that true?" said Sakin.
"No," answered Pamela Graham.
Pamela Graham said she lied about a Department of Children and Families worker who took Rilya from their home. Police detectives have testified Geralyn reported that when questioned about Rilya's whereabouts.
"There was no social worker. It was all made up," said Pamela Graham.
She testified to adding detailed descriptions and phone calls that never happened when she spoke with Miami-Dade detectives.
"Did you see Geralyn strike her, meaning Rilya, with a switch?" asked Sakin.
"Not that I can remember," said Pamela Graham.
Pamela Graham, who is not related to Geralyn although they claimed at times to be sisters, said her companion ran their household and lashed out when her authority was challenged. Pamela Graham, however, had legal custody of Rilya and a younger sister, Rodericka.
"Rilya was never put in the dog cage?" said Sakin.
"Not in my presence, no," answered Pamela Graham.
Witnesses have testified that Geralyn Graham put Rilya in a dog cage.
On Monday, Pamela Graham said that she suspected the worst when the girl abruptly disappeared in late 2000 but did not contact police or child welfare officials because she was afraid of taking the blame.
Geralyn Graham, 66, faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder, child abuse and kidnapping charges. Pamela Graham made a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to child abuse and child neglect charges in return for her testimony, and likely will face no jail time.
Rilya's body has never been found and Pamela Graham said she does not know what happened to her. The girl's disappearance caused a statewide scandal because child welfare officials did not realize she was missing for some 15 months, eventually leading to changes in monitoring of foster children and other child welfare reforms.
Copyright 2012 by Post Newsweek. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.