MIAMI – A South Florida woman who once cared for missing 4-year-old foster child Rilya Wilson could get a lengthy prison sentence for kidnapping and child abuse convictions.
Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez could go as high as life plus 35 years behind bars at Tuesday's sentencing of 67-year-old Geralyn Graham. Jurors could not agree last month on her guilt or innocence on a murder charge, and prosecutors will not retry Graham on that count.
Graham's sentencing closes a case that spanned more than a decade since Rilya went missing in December 2000. Her disappearance wasn't discovered for 15 months, leading to reform laws and a high-level shakeup within Florida's child welfare agency.
The prosecution was complicated because Rilya's body was never found and there were no witnesses. Graham consistently denied harming the girl.