Child welfare agency finds 83 of about 500 missing children
Friday, September 13, 2002
MIAMI -- About 80 of an estimated 500 children missing from the care of Florida's child welfare agency have been located over the past several days, department officials said Thursday.
Jerry Regier, the new secretary of the embattled Department of Children & Families, would not give specifics on how the agency located the 83 children.
Regier contends many of those classified as missing are older children who have simply chosen to be left to their own devices.
Among those still missing is Rilya Wilson, the highest-profile example of the agency losing track of a child in its care.
Regier would say only that headway had been made in the investigation to find the girl, who was 5 when she was last seen in January 2001; the agency was unaware of her disappearance until April 2002.
Rilya's caretaker said someone claiming to be an agency caseworker took the girl.