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Missing Florida girl's mom to meet with police

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Miami-Dade police investigators plan to meet Thursday with the Ohio mother of a missing 5-year-old girl who was supposed to have been under Florida state supervision.

Florida officials did not discover the girl, Rilya Wilson, was missing until last week -- a year after she was last seen.

"How in the hell does a whole state department lose a 5-year-old child?" sobbed Gloria Wilson, who lost custody of her daughter, Rilya. Authorities said the mother had drug problems.

Wilson said she loves her daughter and said each letter in Rilya's name symbolizes that affection, standing for "Remember, I love you always."

Investigators departed Thursday for Cleveland, Ohio, and were scheduled to meet with Wilson later in the day

They want to take a DNA sample from Wilson and compare it with the DNA of the decapitated remains of a little girl found in Kansas City, Missouri, a year ago. Palm prints of Rilya and that little girl, dubbed Precious Doe, did not match, but Florida officials want to compare the two cases further. It could take as long as six months to complete the DNA match.

"We're going to talk to her and interview her to learn whether she has any additional information to help us find this girl," said Detective Ed Munn, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department.

In another development, Florida state officials also took custody of a younger sister of Rilya's, who had been living with her grandmother. The state was planning to take custody of another sibling, but she was not home at the time, authorities said. The grandmother was the last family member to have custody of Rilya.

Police and Florida state officials said the woman is the child's paternal grandmother, but Wilson told The New York Times the woman was a godmother -- not her grandmother.

The Florida Department of Children and Families revealed Tuesday it had lost track of Rilya, who had been placed in the custody of the grandmother in 1999 after the parental rights of her mother and father were terminated.

Agency records indicate the child's welfare was checked in required monthly meetings until January 2001, but neither the caseworker nor the caseworker's supervisor had any record of meetings after that time.

The child's absence came to light April 25 when a agency caseworker contacted the grandmother to set up an appointment to check on Rilya. The woman told the caseworker that she had turned the child over to people she believed to be child welfare officials in January 2001.

The grandmother told authorities the people who took the child said they were taking her for evaluation. They returned about a week later for the girl's clothing, saying the tests were taking longer than expected. The girl was not seen again.

The grandmother said she repeatedly called the state to check on the child, but the agency said they have no records to confirm the calls.

In an interview with CNN's Miami affiliate, WFOR, a man who identified himself as Rilya's father said he had no idea what happened to the girl. The last time he saw her, he said, was about two years ago. Authorities described the father as a "deadbeat dad."

Florida Department of Children and Families officials said Rilya's original caseworker resigned recently after being accused of falsifying documents in another case. Charles Auslander, district director of the Miami office, said the caseworker was permitted to resign rather than be fired and said she told investigators she knows nothing about what happened to Rilya.

Asked how the department could lose track of a child, he responded, "I think the short answer is that people weren't doing their job."

-- CNN Correspondent Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.



 
 
 
 







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