Mother of 7-year-old girl allegedly killed by uncle arrested on drug charges

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by Brendan Marks / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 5:46 PM

(KMOV) – The mother of a girl allegedly killed by her 22-year-old uncle was arrested earlier this month after police say a marijuana pipe was found in her vehicle.

Ciara DeRyke, 26, was taken into custody Oct. 14 in Shelby County, Ill. on a charge of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to police, she was driving on Rt. 32 when she lost control of her vehicle and struck a ditch, rolling over her vehicle.

She was also cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an aciddent., according to Effingham Co. State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler.

The arrest came about five weeks after her daughter, 7-year-old Willow Long, was allegedly killed by Justin DeRyke at her home in Watson.

Justin DeRyke has been in jail on a $5 million bond since Sept. 10 after he was charged with three counts of first-degree murder in her death. He pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment on Sept. 19. The Effingham Daily News reports lawyers will begin culling through potential jurors to hear his case on Dec. 2.

But officials say the trial could be delayed and likely won’t begin until 2014.

Police said the body of Long—who was reported missing on Sept. 8--was found by four search volunteers in an area south of Watson around 7:30 p.m. near the Little Wabash River a day later.

According to court documents, DeRyke told officers he was home alone watching Long and her brother when the alleged incident occurred. Police said Ciara DeRyke was at a local bar and her grandparents were out of town.

DeRyke told police he spent most of the evening in his room playing video games. When he left the room to go to the bathroom, he said Long tugged on his arm and asked him to watch a movie with her. During the exchange, DeRyke said the girl accidentally scratched his arm, causing it to bleed.

He reportedly got upset and yelled at Long, which caused her to run into the front yard. According to his statement, DeRyke said she then fell on a brush pile, causing a stick to impale her in the neck.

DeRyke said he wanted to end her suffering.

Prosecutors said he then slit her throat before stabbing her in the heart and throat. Police said DeRyke put the girl’s body in a plastic bag, duct taped it and dumped it in the Little Wabash River.

According to police, an autopsy concluded Long’s throat had been slashed. She also had stab wounds on her collarbone and neck as well as defensive wounds on her hands.

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