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Heartbreaking

4-Year-Old Rilya Wilson’s Murder Highlights Everything That Is Wrong in This Country

by Sasha Brown-Worsham on November 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Rilya WilsonRilya Wilson was just 4 years old when she disappeared from her foster home in Florida. Finally 66-year-old Geralyn Graham, the woman most suspect is guilty of killing her, is going to face trial. Graham has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and has told judges she is innocent and with no body, it could be hard to convict someone.

Poor little Rilya’s body hasn't been found. Police have no witnesses to any killing and very little hard evidence to go on, but an alleged confessions Graham made to other jail inmates stating that she killed Rilya and buried her near a lake may be enough to convict.

Someone needs to pay for Rilya’s death. The little girl would be 16 now. Part of what was so heartbreaking about the case was how much everyone failed her. Documents were falsified so that no one had to admit she was missing, no one was checking up on her. She was a little girl left adrift. Once we all cared, it was too late.

As a mom, the idea that anyone could let a 4-year-old disappear without caring is repugnant. As Frederica Wilson said in her column for the Miami Herald, “Rilya technically belongs to all of us.” She does. And yet it took 18 months to report her disappearance.

It’s heartbreaking. It’s wrong. It brought sweeping change to the Florida foster care system, but it needs to be a case we talk about more. For some reason, it’s not. Some people think it’s because Rilya was African-American. It might.

But she was also a foster child, a child whose biological parents were not caring for her for whatever reason. There are many reasons cases like these don’t end up on Nancy Grace. None of them are good. Sure, cases like Jon Benet Ramsey and other pretty little upper middle class girls haunt us. But the fact is, the murder or disappearance of ANY child should be wrong and receive national attention.

Little Rilya may finally get justice. But until real changes in the way we report these stories happen, nothing will really change. Let’s hope someone pays for this crime.

Does this story make you angry? Why do you think so few outlets reported on it?

Image via -JvL-/ Flickr

Filed Under: crime

Comments

6
  • Judit...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Judith K Littles

    November 4, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    This is a sad story. This child was in a system that was supposed to protect her. After all these years, I wonder, if  the children that are currently in foster care in Florida safer than this child was 12 years ago? It seems that her caseworker should have been convicted of something, if nothing but falsifying records. 


  • tuffy...
    --

    tuffymama

    November 4, 2012 at 10:43 PM
    I think about her a lot. I live in florida, and have a friend who is a social worker for a private nonprofit that represents fostet kids and offers adoption counseling services. She said Rilya is mentioned at least monthly by a client, a caseworker or an estranged parent. People have got to stop throwing kids away!
  • jessi...
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    jessicasmom1

    November 5, 2012 at 7:39 AM

    so sorry to hear about this sad story ,, What a beautiful named child .. Please stop disposing of kids like they are nothing.


  • mrsjonzy
    --

    mrsjonzy

    November 27, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    If we reported all the things like this that happend no one would be able to sleep at night. The amount of stuff that happens in this cou tey under our nose would make you sick. you would never let your child out of the house again, to school, to a hospital, anywhere without full body contact and a gun.

    You see upper middle class white kids all over the news because their parents stalk media outlets. They usually have one parent home that can make sure that everyone knows and sees and is helping find their child. I think those from lesser means don't have stalking resources wether it's time or knowledge. It takes a lot of work to keep the media interested. 


  • ms_da...
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    ms_danielle_j

    December 13, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    I work for a non-profit agency in Florida and I see this name more than I like to. Every time I see her name I just hurt for what she went through. Our foster care system needs some serious work and I know that not only from working for the system but as being one of their kids. I pray that they finally bring this darling child to justice and that her former foster mother pays for what she did.


  • Hypa
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Hypa

    February 18, 2013 at 10:50 PM
    From what you have said it does not seem that Florida has changed much from what I know. It is a shame, but the truth is if you want to live in a state where you can abuse your child or if you want to take your child against a court order of custody take them to Florida. For the most part, bioligical parents in Florida pretty much can do as they please while the state turns a blind eye.
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