Brother of murdered 7-year-old girl taken into protective custody

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by Associated Press and KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 12 at 6:24 PM

WATSON, Ill. -- Illinois state child-welfare officials have taken a southern Illinois boy into protective custody after authorities say his 7-year-old sister was stabbed to death by a live-in uncle.

Illinois Department of Children & Family Services spokesman Dave Clarkin says that before Willow Long was killed last weekend, the agency had no involvement with the Effingham County family. DCFS told News 4 the agency's investigation began Sept. 8 and it took protective custody of Long's brother Sept. 10. The boy is 3. DCFS also told News 4 it is investigating DeRyke and Long's mother.

Twenty-two-year-old Justin DeRyke was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder. Prosecutors say he told investigators he killed his niece to end her suffering after she accidentally fell onto a brush pile and pierced her neck with a stick near the family’s Watson home.

DeRyke is jailed on $5 million bond and hiring an attorney. He’s set to appear again in court next Thursday. 

Willow’s funeral arrangements are pending.

 

 

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