Tags: 'Despicable' | Bungling | Missing | Miami | Girl | Angers | Judge

'Despicable' Bungling of Missing Miami Girl Angers Judge

Monday, 06 May 2002 12:00 AM

"It was absolutely despicable what happened in the case," a visibly angry Lederman said, referring to the state Department of Children and Families. "I, who have the ultimate responsibility for the child, [could] not perform my duties because I didn't even know the child was missing."

Law enforcement agencies including the Miami-Dade County state attorney's office are investigating the case to determine if any criminal charges should be filed.

Gov. Jeb Bush named a four-member fact-finding team to investigate and examine the issues that have surfaced.

Rilya was placed in the care of her godmother, Geralyn Graham, two years ago. In January 2001 a woman appeared at the door to take the little girl for neurological tests. That was the last time Rilya Wilson has been seen.

Lederman said, however, that caseworker Deborah Muskelly continued to assure her Rilya was being raised properly. Muskelly resigned in March over discrepancies in another case, and it wasn't discovered Rilya was missing until April 25 when another caseworker tried to see her.

There are suspicions Rilya Wilson might be the little girl named Precious Doe found beheaded in Kansas City, Mo., three months after the disappearance. A comparison of palm prints did not match, but a DNA sample has been taken from Rilya's mother, Gloria Wilson, in Cleveland, and it arrived in Kansas City on Monday for further comparisons.

Graham said her son, Kenneth Epson, fathered Rilya. Gloria Wilson said that was not true, although she has not named the father.

Lederman lashed out at the social services agency for taking Rilya's 3-year-old sister, Rodericka, from Graham's care last week without telling her.

"I need to know what is happening with this child. I need to know why this child was removed," Lederman said.

An inmate at Miami-Dade County Jail, Manville Cash, told the Miami Herald by telephone that he was Rilya Wilson's father. He said he did not believe the little girl was dead.

"I have faith. Somebody's got my child," he said.

State documents filled out when Gloria Wilson's custody was withdrawn because of alleged drug addiction show Cash as a "prospective father."

Cash, who has a criminal record that includes at least a half-dozen convictions, is being held on charges of grand theft auto, public drinking and possession of cocaine.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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It was absolutely despicable what happened in the case, a visibly angry Lederman said, referring to the state Department of Children and Families. I, who have the ultimate responsibility for the child, [could] not perform my duties because I didn't even know the child was...
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2002-00-06
Monday, 06 May 2002 12:00 AM
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