Grandmother Of Missing Child Breaks Her Silence

Baltimore WJZ News/May 15, 2008

Investigators are testing the DNA of a tiny corpse found in Philadelphia to see if it matches a missing Baltimore child.

The paternal grandmother of a missing Baltimore child is breaking her silence about her grandchild's disappearance and the possible involvement of a cult.

Geraldine Richie waits to hear whether it really is her own grandson who police found inside a storage shed in South Philadelphia. The grandson disappeared from her life more than two years ago.

She says another relative tipped her off that the child was dead and that his body was stuffed inside a suitcase in Philadelphia. She contacted police there.

"That's my pride and joy, and I miss my grandson," she said.

Now, a multi-state investigation is underway and this grandmother is consumed with grief.

"I'm just hoping and praying that's not my grandson. But in my heart and my mind, I know it's him," she said.

Richie is the mother of the child's father. Relatives say her grandson's mom joined a religious cult, took the baby and cut off contact with the family.

Internal police records obtained by WJZ's newspaper partner, "The Baltimore Examiner," say cult members killed the boy because he was a "demon" and would not say "Amen" at prayers before eating.

"How can a child at the age of 17 months say grace? They can't even talk," Richie said.

These records reveal witnesses told police the child was malnourished and died in his mother's arms. They also say cult members placed him on a mattress so God could resurrect him from the dead.

"What they've done, they took a part of me. They took a part of me," she said.

Investigators have taken DNA samples from Richie's son and the maternal grandmother to see if the body found in Philadelphia is the missing boy.

For Geraldine Richie, the wait is agonizing.

"You don't know how happy I would be to see my grandson walk through my mother's door," she said.

Police say they have arrested several members of that cult in New York on outstanding warrants for unrelated charges. The child's mother is not among them. No one has been charged with the baby's death.

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