Willow Long: 7-year-old missing from Illinois Found

UPDATE 10/22/13 –

Willow’s mother, Ciara DeRyke, is facing drug charges in Shelby County.

According to court records, the charge for possession of drug paraphernalia was filed against her on Tuesday.

UPDATE 9/16/13 –
According to court documents nobody saw Willow alive on Sunday at all, because Willow’s mom was at a local bar on Sept. 7 and she had left her and her brother home with Justin DeRyke.

She returned home around midnight, a probable cause statement said.

Justin was reinterviewed by Illinois State Police at 11:09 p.m. on Sept. 9 where he stated that around 11 p.m., he walked from the bathroom to the bedroom after watching a porno flick.   Willow stopped him and began to tug on his arm to ask him to watch TV with her. He said she  scratched him and made him bleed, and he got mad.  Documents further state Justin said that Willow ran out the door and she “tripped, falling into a brush pile where the family dumps cat litter and impaling her neck on a stick.”

“According to the defendant, he believed he had to end her suffering” after he saw her twitching on the ground, the probable cause statement said.

Warning:  Below details are disturbing: 
DeRyke went into his bedroom, picked up a knife and slit her throat and tried to stab her in the heart approximately five times, according to the document. He later wrapped her body in plastic bags and dumped her body.

An autopsy showed Willow’s throat had been slashed and she had suffered a laceration to her collarbone area. A smaller stab wound had fatally severed her sub-clavicle vein. The autopsy also noted defensive wounds on Willow’s hands.

UPDATE 9/11/13 –
Long’s grandfather Dale DeRyke, told KMOV News her death was an accident. He said that Justin was with Willow when she fell on a stick in the yard and it went through her neck.

“He was scared, He hid her body, he was scared,” DeRyke said.

Police noticed early on that  Justin DeRyke never helped in the search and neighbors noticed he was drinking beer than showing concern for Willow.

I believe the police had their suspect figured out at the very beginning and needed to help find Willow to confirm their suspicions.

Justin’s mugshot

UPDATE 9/10/13

Willow’s uncle, Justin DeRyke, 22, was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with first-degree murder of Willow.

Willow’s body was found south of Watson close to the Little Wabash River.  Willow’s body was found wrapped in a bag submerged in water in a rural area south of Watson.

“On Monday at approximately 7:30 p.m., four volunteer searchers located the body of a small child in an area south of the village of Watson,” the statement released by Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler Tuesday said.
“No positive identification of the body has been made at this time,” the statement said. “An autopsy to determine the child’s identity and cause of death is scheduled for later this morning.”

Now we know why they called off the volunteer search.

Justin is very tall at 6’5″ and according to him went to college and was happy, so why would he hurt his sister’s child?

Read more:

UPDATE 9/9/13 – Willow’s purple long oversized shirt was found in the home.  Waiting for an update on what clothing she might be wearing. Her dad Thomas Long is on his way to Watson from Texas.

“I think it’s an abduction, but not for ransom,” said Dale De Ryke, Willow’s maternal grandfather. Willow and her mother, Ciara had been living with De Ryke.

“I think it’s an abduction, but not for ransom,” said Dale De Ryke. Young Willow and her mother, Ciara De Ryke, had been living with the elder De Rykes at a home on Circle Drive in Watson.

Previous story:  Willow Long, 7, is missing from 104 Circle Drive, in Watson, Illinois. since around 8:30 a.m. on September 8.

They believe she walked away from her home Sunday morning and she has been missing since.  The Effingham Daily reports that mom, Cierra Deryke checked on the kids around 8:30-8:45 that morning and then went back to bed not feeling well.  She woke back up around 10:45 and Willow was gone and the 3-year-old lead her to believe that Willow went out the door.

Sunday before returning to bed, feeling ill. She woke up and came back downstairs at 10:45 to find Long missing and her 3-year-old son indicating that she had went out the door, leaving the residence.

There are early rumors and one is that Willow left after she got mad at her mom, leaving with just her clothes, no shoes and no glasses. The other rumors is that the mom was taking a nap and when she woke up Willow was gone.

The authorities and over 400 volunteers have searched for her over a 20 square mile radius but have not located her.  A dog has picked up Willows scent by some corn fields.  The authorities used an Air Evac helicopter with thermal imaging to search for her tonight.

The community has come together to look for Willow and will likely continue until she has been found.

Willow is 4-foot tall and has shoulder-length red hair.

If you have any information as to her whereabouts, please call the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department at 217-342-2101.


Taken May 2013
RIP Sweetheart
About Missing Persons Admin 4577 Articles
Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.


  1. I had a young pretty girl try to sell me children books a few months back. Would this be the same thing? What a good way to know if you have children to steal and sell in the black market sex trade! I do recall them asking me many questions like, how many kids, what grade are they in, what do I do …

  2. I've already consulted my cards. Deception of a dark haired lady with regard to innocence, death showed itself, and cards that mean that things will take time but will be resolved. O.O sad

  3. I pray that she is alright and well be found very soon. With the heat and just being a little girl out alone over night is scary enough. We need to not focus negative energy on this event but send Positive energy and help to lift up the search crews and the parents at this time. God knows I wouldn't want to be in their shoes not know what is happening with their little girl. Please everyone, show some compassion. Elliott from Northern California

  4. She is alone ,scared and afraid I think that is why your cards are dark.They need more dogs,mediums ,friends,family,volunteers to look again . I wish me and my friends were there so we could help out. For those of you who have nothing positive or helpful to say .Shut your Cant Understand Normal Thinking whole up. Go do something else with your miserable life .Then make Cant Operate Common Koolness at a time like this. Yes i am calling all morons on here the C words. I can not even believe i wasted my time on them . I had to they really pissed me off

  5. I saw Willow's maternal grandfather, who is a truck driver & was in Penn making a delivery sunday-possibly with his wife, Willows maternal grandmother (not confirmed if she was with him or not) in a video and he stated that Willow is not the type of child to walk off. He said that he has never even saw her leave the driveway before. Mom, Willow, maternal g-father, maternal g-mother, Mom's brother-Willow's uncle are noted in the article to be living at the same residence. I am unclear as to W's little brother. The article specifically mentioned all of the others but didn't say lil' brother, too. Does anyone know if W's father who is from Texas & is on his way to Ill is the father of the 3 yr old? G-father said that both Mom & Uncle were being questioned. Are there any locals who know if Mom had a current or recently-in-the-past boyfriend? Locals need to start speaking up. It seems like a small town, somebody knows the dynamics of this family. Too many questions & no one talking but like G-father the time is now to start spilling beans. The auth are stuck in this “she walked out” scenario & keep repeating it but the FBI has been involved since almost the very begining. We only know what we are being told by the sheriff; One of those things is that they no longer want volunteers to search, because of the weather. Really? The weather?

  6. How long have you been reading? Isn't tru that the “D” card may not always be considered as the physical death but also as in the end of a certain phase or situation? My Aunt, may she rest in peace, used to dabble in tarot a bit.

  7. Most 7 year old's are fine to be left unattended watching tv for an hour or so at a time. I am saddened by the story. I am concerned as to whether we are getting the full story. Some things just don't make sense.

  8. I am with you Anonymous. There are things that just do not make sense. Also, I am curious about the 3yr old and him pointing at the door. Does this little guy have speech delays? (no offense) but at age 3, he should be able to verbally communicate. Her not having her glasses or shoes really concerns me. ~ the glasses she cannot see without? Even a small child with eyesight that bad would instinctively put her glasses on as soon as she got out of bed. I would be more apt to think that she answered the door and someone grabbed her or that there was foul play within the family. I hope not and I pray that this beautiful little girl makes it home safe and sound!!! ♥

  9. The story that she fell on a stick is bogus. He hid her body because he was scared is also bogus. His grandfather is trying cover up a family secret. A secret of pure evil. Rather than getting the boy help,his grandfather and others have built a protective wall. There are probably multiple secrets in the family. Willow is now an angel. She was a beautiful girl. My prayers are for the mother as she grieves.

  10. I have a nine year old niece that hates her glasses and doesn't wear them unless you tell her, and At anonymous my 7 year old sister watches tv by herself while my mom takes a nap not a big deal usually, you can't watch them constantly all the time, I pray they find her

  11. Now that we are aware of more of the story…and frankly, more of the family mentality, I think people might have changed their tunes on defending this “mother.” The whole story is a mess…and a story it is…contrived. So sad for Willow. I hope one day for justice and that she may rest in peace.