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Crime & Courts

Trial starts in Rilya Wilson case; foster child became symbol for problems at Florida agency

The trial for a caretaker accused of killing of a foster child a decade ago has started with a prosecutor saying the girl was abused for months before she was smothered.

Geralyn Graham is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and child abuse in the death of Rilya (RIHL'-yuh) Wilson. Rilya disappeared in 2000 and was missing for more than a year before the state agency realized she had vanished. Rilya's body has never been found.

Her case became a symbol for widespread problems at the Florida's child welfare agency and led to major reforms.

Prosecutors are relying on a circumstantial case that hinges on inmates who say Graham confessed to killing Rilya while she was in prison for fraud. The trial started Monday and is expected to last several weeks.

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