Foster Grandmother Speaks Out About Raffy Trial Guilty Verdict
YAKIMA, Wa - The foster grandmother of a toddler killed by his abusive biological mother speaks out.
32-year-old Maribel Gomez was convicted of homicide by abuse and first degree manslaughter in the death of her two year old son Raphael Gomez more than three and a half years ago.
Gomez faces up to 26-years in prison.
Char Riel-Wellner, Raffy's foster grandmother, lives here in Yakima. But she was in Ephrata to hear the verdict this morning.
Riel-Wellner hopes this case and the attention it's received will prevent this from ever happening again.
"We will never forget Raffy," says Riel-Wellner, "I count him as one of my 26 grandchildren. I always will. And I just hope no other little Raffy has to go through even the beginnings of what our Raffy went through."
Raffy's case has spotlighted problems within the foster care system...
Now it's important to note this case case was not handled by our region for the Children and Family Services, but they have tried to learn from it.
"We have a lot of policies and a lot of rules and procedures that need to be followed and sometimes we stop listing," says Ken Nichols, Region 2 Administrator for Children and Family Services, "And when we stop listening to foster parents and to care providers, these types of things can happen."
Nichols says he planned to meet and discuss this case with his staff in a meeting this afternoon.
Sentencing for Raffy's mother is scheduled for next week.