Another time, Pamela Graham said she found Rilya crying in a bathtub of “extremely hot” water. Geralyn Graham told her it was punishment for wetting her bed. The bed restraints, Pamela Graham added, were to prevent Rilya from getting up at night and climbing on kitchen counters to reach sweet treats in a high cabinet.
One day in December of 2000, Pamela Graham returned from work to find Rilya gone. She said Geralyn Graham didn’t offer much of an explanation.
“She said (Rilya) wasn’t coming back and I wasn’t going to see her anymore,” Pamela Graham testified. “She just kept telling me Rilya was OK and not to worry. I thought something bad had happened.”
She said the two argued heatedly, and at one point that night, she started to call police but did not when Geralyn Graham threatened her with a hammer. Yet Pamela Graham admitted having her own selfish motives for not going to authorities.
“I was scared and I knew that I was the one that had legal custody of her. I was just afraid that whatever happened to her, I would be blamed for,” Pamela Graham said. “”It was selfish, I know, thinking about myself instead of her.”
Eventually, Geralyn Graham said they would tell anyone who asked that a Department of Children and Families worker had taken Rilya for mental testing and never returned her. To friends, they said she was on a trip to New York. Pamela Graham said none of it was true, but she remained silent for years.
It wasn’t until May 2004 that Pamela Graham admitted to a cold case investigator that there were many lies surrounding Rilya’s disappearance, including the story about a DCF worker taking the girl away. That was when she began cooperating.
“I was tired of carrying the lies I had previously told,” she said.