Geralyn Graham is a serial liar, according to prosecution witnesses.
"On the surface, she seemed very believable, but in my mind I was thinking that none of what she was telling me was adding up,” former Department of Children and Families investigator Barbara Toledo testified Thursday in the trial of Graham, who is accused of murdering foster child Rilya Wilson.
One thing that didn’t add up for Toledo was Graham’s story that an unnamed DCF worker took Rilya away for psychiatric evaluations and never brought her back.
"First of all, I've never heard of a 4-year-old being taken to a mental health facility for extensive periods of time,” Toledo said.
The body of the girl, who vanished more than a decade ago, has never been found. Graham, who was her caretaker at the time, has insisted she did not kill her. Her attorneys maintain that there is no evidence that Rilya is dead, let alone that Graham killed her.
The 66-year-old defendant faces charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child abuse.
Toledo was among a team of DCF workers who swarmed into the Rilya case, saying it was all hands on deck to find the little girl who at that point was missing for more than a year.
Elizabeth Laufer was on the team that gently questioned Graham. Asked why she did not confront Graham, Laufer replied: “I wanted her to try to see me as somebody who was there to help and the department at the time was there to help. If a child is missing, especially a child who is so young, that child is in significant danger and we wanted to get the facts as to what really had happened."
Toledo says they never got facts from Graham, only suspiciously pleasant behavior.
"I thought, normal reaction, normal behavior would be (to be) demanding, aggressive, how could you do this, where's my granddaughter, because she was alleging to be the child’s grandmother at the time and we didn't get any of that, in fact we got the opposite,” Toledo said.
For the second time, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson attended the trial Thursday to highlight an underlying issue.
"In fact Rilya is a symbol in this state, and in this nation, for what happens when agencies are negligent as it relates to children,” she said.
The trial resumes Monday.