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Willow Long: Brother of Killed 7-Year-Old Taken into Protective Custody, Mother Investigated

willow-long.jpg
Willow Long.
Yesterday, we reported on the disturbing murder charges against Justin DeRyke, the 22-year-old Watson, Illinois man who allegedly stabbed his seven-year-old niece to death. The victim, Willow Long, was reported missing on Sunday and found deceased a day later in Effingham county. An autopsy found that her throat had been slashed and that she had cuts on her hand "consistent with being defensive wounds."

DeRyke is behind bars -- and now his sister, the mother of Willow Long, is under investigation. The mother, identified in court documents as Ciara DeRyke, is facing an investigation by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), which is also investigating the now incarcerated uncle, agency spokesman Dave Clarkin tells Daily RFT.

He says the department had prior received no reports regarding this family.

See also: Macala Shelton: Missing Missouri Girl Stabbed To Death, Found In Abandoned Farm, Cops Say

Ciara DeRyke's son, age three, who was apparently at home during the incident, was taken into protective custody on Tuesday, Clarkin says.

justin-deryke-1.jpg
Justin DeRyke.

When the story of Long's disappearance first broke on Sunday, Ciara DeRyke allegedly told police that her daughter went missing while she was taking a nap that morning. She reportedly told cops that the girl had been watching television with her brother and that when she asked the boy where she had gone, he pointed to the door, but said nothing.

The probable cause statement released by Effinngham County State's Attorney yesterday, however, tells a different story: Based on the suspect's alleged confession, police believe that he was left alone with the two young children Saturday night when Ciara DeRyke went out to a local bar in Effingham city. She returned sometime after midnight, police say.

Justin DeRyke allegedly told police that he got into some sort of fight with the girl and that she ran out of the house and tripped and fell, causing a stick to impale her neck.

willow-long-missing.jpg
via Facebook / Missing Willow Long

Because he "had to end her suffering," he then reportedly retrieved a knife, slit her throat and stabbed her multiple times before dumping the body. The next day, police say, he did not help with the search and instead went to his job at a restaurant.

DCFS received a call on its hotline on Sunday, prompting the investigation into the two family members, Clarkin says.

He notes that 75 percent of child deaths involve families with no prior reports (according to a recent study).

Clarkin says the southern region of Illinois -- which includes Madison and St. Clair counties -- has a child homicide rate that is nearly twice the state average. The region, he says, also has overall child abuse and neglect rates that are around twice the state average

Too often, he adds, family, friends and neighbors have suspicions but never report them.

"Call the [child abuse] hotline 800-252-2873 to keep tragedies like this from happening again," he says.

Here are the full charges:

Pc Statement

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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21 comments
Jacqueline Hadley
Jacqueline Hadley

I agree about the anger problem and mental issues. I mean, he said he was in the bathroom jerking off for thirty minutes to porn before he came out and she tugged on his arm to watch a movie. Shouldn't he have been in a wee more peaceful place if he just "came" out of the bathroom? Just sayin'. This story just doesn't add up, even with what we've been told so far. My guess is maybe she interrupted him jerking off and he got pissed chased after her, molested her, and then killed her. For the mom to lie about napping is suspicious right there. I mean, why not just say she went out with friends and left her kids with her brother? That admission alone isn't necessarily any worse than leaving them to go take a nap. Both positions put her as irresponsible, especially when her youngest was three years old. The fact she lied about it shows there is way more to this story that involves her, in my opinion.

Melody T. Rambo
Melody T. Rambo

R.I.P. Willow. It is so sad to see children suffer because of sick messed up adults or to see them end up like this

Kat Ellis
Kat Ellis

I do not get "corpse like" at all...it almost looks heavenly and serene, to me...first thing I thought, was, "little Angel in Heaven." =(

Kat Ellis
Kat Ellis

I am not getting this, yet, Lesa...but you could be right! I am getting that mom went out drinking...but left her kids with evil brother...and she feels guilty for such. Evil brother is a mental case, for sure...his story even sounds feasible, but who "takes a human out of their suffering?!" Call 911, idjut! So sad...she is a beautiful little doll. =(

Stacey Morris
Stacey Morris

Rest now Willow. (I banking on Mom @ Lesa Urban)

Lesa Urban
Lesa Urban

Mark my words..mom has something to do with it also!!

Brian Cunningham
Brian Cunningham

I`m sure he has some form of anger problem or other mental problem but, still doesn`t excuse why they would leave children with someone if they knew these kind of fact`s. God forbid he might have even touched her in that way and she ran and then the stick went in and to cover it up really good he finished her so she wouldn`t talk. I really hope that it never happened that way though.

Kelly Wilkins Garon
Kelly Wilkins Garon

This is the same pic (with the same contrast) that the police released when she was missing. If it has been altered, every news agency altered it the same way.

perock
perock topcommenter

even if hi story was true how the f*** does his brain work like that?!?! "She got a stick in her neck... should i call the ambulance?  no... i think i'll slit her throat and stab her to death." she's not a fucking dog you sick ass animal.  that dude needs to be off the streets

Tony Bologna
Tony Bologna

Did you lower the contrast a bunch to make her look like a corpse on purpose...? "Journalism"

Matt Higgins
Matt Higgins

I wish this scum all the bad feelings we can ALL muster. I get choked up every time I see a picture of this sweet little angel. How can anyone harm a child?

Bambi Zj Baker
Bambi Zj Baker

Unbelievable family or not you turn that scum in he could have done other things that no one is speaking of and then to leave your child with that monster. Her life, her experiences, growing old all of it stolen

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

Hopefully that child will be returned to her mother soon, so the family can stay together. 

Gee Gee Ramone
Gee Gee Ramone

this is so horrible, that poor little baby girl. i hope they put that murderer in general population & they ass rape him with a meat cleaver !!!!

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

@perock a family unit is stronger when it remains united. If this child goes into foster care, it might be abused. 

perock
perock topcommenter

@dalediversity i agree but at the same time being raised by someone who may kill you or allowed for the murder of your sibling can be a bit damaging as well. you do realize the brother was the one put into foster care because his sister was STABBED TO DEATH BY HER RELATIVE right? This story is her because THE GIRL IS DEAD and her MOTHER may have been in on the whole thing.

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