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Key Witness Takes Stand In Case Of Rilya Wilson’s Death

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Deborah Muskelly testifies at the trial of Geralyn Graham. Graham is charged with the murder of missing foster child Rilya Wilson. (Source: CBS4)

Deborah Muskelly testifies at the trial of Geralyn Graham. Graham is charged with the murder of missing foster child Rilya Wilson. (Source: CBS4)

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Gary Nelson has been a member of the CBS4 News team since Septem...
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Rilya Wilson

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A former DCF caseworker, at the center of the Rilya Wilson case, has taken the stand at the trial of Geralyn Graham. Graham was Rilya Wilson’s caregiver, now on trial for killing the foster child more than a decade ago, even though her body has never been found.

Deborah Muskelly took the stand Tuesday morning and is considered a key witness in the case. An investigation showed Muskelly did not make required monthly visits to the Grahams’ home for more than a year, even though she was filing reports and telling judges the girl was fine.

In court Tuesday, Muskelly admitted to falsifying mileage records, saying she “guesstimated.” Defense attorneys for Graham contended she lied.

Muskelly was asked if she had visited Rilya Wilson’s home after January 2001 and told defense attorney Scott Sakin, “If you’re gonna ask me if I went; I already told you I didn’t go.”

Muskelly was eventually placed on five years’ probation after pleading guilty to official misconduct for falsifying time sheets. She has admitted to submitting mileage records indicating she had visited the home.

Muskelly testified Tuesday that Rilya was happy when she was with her foster parent Pamela Kendrick. In addition, Muskelly said when she did visit the home, Rilya appeared well.

“They were hugging, kissing,” said Muskelly. “She was quiet, but she was clean.”

Geralyn Graham in court on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. Graham is charged with the murder of missing foster child Rilya Wilson. (Source: CBS4)

Geralyn Graham in court on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. Graham is charged with the murder of missing foster child Rilya Wilson. (Source: CBS4)

But Geralyn Graham persuaded retired DCF supervisor Willie Harris to move Rilya to her home so she could be with her younger sister Rodericka, who was already under Graham’s care.

“The child had been with the Kendricks. She was happy there and she was fine and I didn’t understand how she got from one to the other,” testified Muskelly.

Willie Harris testified last week that he removed Rilya from the Kendrick home after Graham called DCF to report Rilya was being kept in filthy conditions and Kendrick refused to allow him to inspect her house.

Muskelly also told the jury that she never saw Graham display any affection toward Rilya and never complained about behavior problems she claims the girl had.

Other witnesses have already testified that they saw possible signs of abuse on the girl but none have testified they saw Graham harm the child.

One witness, Detra Coakley Winfield, testified she loaned Graham and her lover Pamela Graham a dog cage to keep Wilson “safe” in but never saw the girl inside it.

Winfield said she didn’t remember seeing Rilya after Christmas 2000.

Rilya Wilson

Rilya Wilson

Lunceford is expected to testify that Graham told her she killed Rilya because the little girl was evil.

Pamela Graham is also expected to testify as per a plea deal with prosecutors that will likely allow her to avoid jail.

Graham faces a life prison sentence if convicted.

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