Body Identified and Uncle Arrested For Murder

Body Identified and Uncle Arrested For Murder

The body found yesterday evening in Watson, IL, has been identified as Willow Long, 7, who has been missing since Sunday. Her uncle, Justin DeRyke, 22, has been arrested and charged with murder.
From the Effingham County State's Attorney's Office:

On Tuesday, September 10, at approximatley 5:55 a.m., agents of the Illinois State Police Zone 7 Investigations placed Justin DeRyke, 22, of Watson, Ill., under arrest for the murder of Willow Long, 7, of Watson. Mr. DeRyke is the maternal uncle of the deceased child.

An autopsy being conducted has confirmed the identity of the body of a child found Monday evening by volunteer searchers south of Watson to be that of Willow Long. All indications are that the death is a homicide.

The Effingham County Sheriff's Department and the Illinois State Police continue to investigate the matter.

The Effingham County State's Attorney's Office will file first degree murder charges against the defendant on Wednesday afternoon in Effingham County Circuit Court, pending the possibility of of additional charges to be filed later.

The defendant's initial court appearance will take place on September 11 at 1 p.m.
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