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DNA shows 'Precious Doe' not missing Florida girl

Saturday, May 11, 2002

MIAMI -- DNA tests have ruled out the possibility that a body found in Missouri is that of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson, whose disappearance went unnoticed by Florida child welfare workers for more than a year.

Miami police also said Friday that the two women who were caring for Rilya had failed lie detector tests, though they would not disclose the questions.

"We can't take anybody at their word," Miami-Dade police director Carlos Alvarez said. Asked whether charges were planned, he said: "Nobody is immune."

Rilya has not been seen since January 2001, when she disappeared from the Miami home. She wasn't reported missing until April 25 after one of her caretakers said she thought a state worker had taken Rilya away for tests.

There had been speculation that Rilya was the beheaded girl whose body was found last year in Kansas City, Mo. But police said tests on saliva from Rilya's mother showed a match with the girl nicknamed Precious Doe was "scientifically impossible."

Florida authorities offered a $25,000 reward Friday for information about Rilya.

"The DNA tests have provided a ray of hope that Rilya will be found safe and well," said Tim Moore, state law enforcement commissioner. "We're hoping that this will provide additional leads that we can work on."

Moore said detectives consider the case a missing child investigation and are checking with other states and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The state took custody of Rilya in 1996, when she was 5 weeks old, because her mother was homeless and addicted to cocaine. The Department of Children & Families failed to make required monthly visits last year, but there has been finger-pointing about who in the agency is to blame.

State officials have said Pamela Graham was given legal custody of the girl. She is the sister of Geralyn Graham, who claims to be Rilya's grandmother. State officials have said the identity of Rilya's father is in dispute and the girl's mother, Gloria Wilson, has refused to disclose his identity.

Both Geralyn and Pamela Graham say Rilya was taken by a woman who said she was a state worker.

The Grahams have denied any wrongdoing in the case and their attorney, Ed Shohat, disputed the findings of the lie-detector tests. He said the women were upset when the test was administered because police had just told them that Rilya might be the slain girl in Kansas City.

"From my experience, that would have been the worst possible time to administer the polygraph on somebody," Shohat said.


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