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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

48 thoughts on “Willow Long: 7-year-old missing from Illinois Found

  1. I hate to say this, but feeling well or not, you don't leave a 7 year old and a 3 year old unattended. I am sure this mother is kicking herself as it is. But I would be curious to see if there were more to this story than what we are reading. I will pray for this little girls safety and that she is found….

  2. A 7 year-old should be able to be left unattended for a few hours while a sick mom takes a nap. Especially if the child isn't prone to wandering off. It doesn't help anything to criticize her poor, sick mother. Certainly praying for this family is the most helpful thing, if you can't join in the search.

  3. She has been known to walk off before and walk to effingham and if the mother knew this then she could have slept on the couch or something I hope shes safe and isnt hurt

  4. I had a child that wandered. If sick i rested on couch. But hind sight is 20-20. Also a 3 yr old indicating the door does not mean someone was not on the other side of it. Pray for her

  5. If you have nothing positive or helpful to say, don't say anything at all. Hope the young one is found unharmed.

  6. From the picture, the mom and especially the weirdo with the woman's scarf on his head both look suspicious to me.

  7. I've seen a few posts on facebook talking about “gypsies” going around rural areas about an hour to an hour and a half from where she went missing supposedly selling children books in an attempt to gather information about children that live at the homes they approach.

  8. The “gypsies selling books” thing is not true. It's a legit book company that gives internships to foreign students, usually of Eastern European descent. There has been no evidence to suggest that that is true. Also, I live in this area and to my knowledge they haven't even traveled through here — I've only heard of it in north/central IL.

    Something is not right here, though, and I hope they find her soon.

  9. This is very sad. Rather than judging the appearances of the family, pray that god is protecting her from harm.

  10. why are you guys so mean? this family is going through hell. the mom feels bad enough without you adding to her pain. you should be thinking of how you can help, not hurt.

  11. You people make me sick. A little girl is missing. Who cares why who cares what people look like in pictures. You all are an ungodly bunch of morons.

  12. I agree. Taking a nap with a 7 year old should be no problem. I do it all the time with my 6 year old. I also keep the doors locked with a chain lock that he cannot reach and I have good communication with my child. He is well aware of the danger out there. Please let Willow be found safe. Such a beautiful girl.

  13. Just got back from the volunteer search effort. Law enforcement has called off civilians being able to help with the search at all from this point forward….even though there were over 1000 people. Really?? A hands-across cornfields isn't worth a shot??

  14. These foreign exchange students are actually victims themselves. I bought mag.subscription from one of these teenagers, and after never getting them, tried to track down someone, ended up calling the BBB. The woman there told me ” These poor kids are usually tricked into coming to the U.S., and turned out to sell whatever books, they have no money, no where to stay, no food, etc…, this woman said that they are trying to stop this from happening, but it is nearly impossible to catch the people who are doing it. She also told me that “these poor kids are hungry, thirsty, and that if it ever happened again, I would be helping them out more by taking them somewhere to eat, or giving them a little money so they can get something to eat or drink…they are here, tricked, homeless, starving…and. there is no way to warn them of these horrible people that are promising them jobs, good money, travel, etc…..beware, but care.
    Am praying for the safe return of your precious Daughter.

  15. I see no problems with the way the parents look! What I do see is a rare beautiful red headed girl that in my opinion, may have been watched. Human trafficking, is very real and growing in ever city and town with costumer's wanting certain looking girls. I too wondered if someone knocked on the door and she answered. I really hope it's just a case of her wondering off and is just lost somewhere. Everybody has to make sure they re-look an area. How many times have we seen the missing found in area previously searched in? Also get some legit psychics involved ASAP!

  16. Don't judge! I don't know this girl or her family. Her parents maybe crack heads or they maybe saints, it makes no difference. I do know one thing my heart goes out to this little girl and all that are missing her and to the people who are desperately searching for her. I hope with all my heart they find her safe and well.

  17. As a single mom, I never had a choice. If I was sick, I was down for the count and just had to hope and pray that my kids wouldn't burn the house down etc while I was laying in the dark with a migraine and hoping to just die. Lets not judge someone for a situation they may not have had any control over. I dont think anyone has the power to 'schedule' a convenient time to be sick. 🙂

  18. Did Willow go to school Friday? How long have Mom, Willow & little brother been living at that address? Does anyone else live at that address? Does Mom work outside of the home? Have auth searched inside the grain storage silos located so near the home? Was the comp that owns the silos open for business on Sunday? Do truck drivers & employees have access to facility 24/7? Where exactly did the canines detect her scent? Have auth sealed the house? Where was Willows last identifiable clothing (as Mom stated) found in the house, and by whom? Was the canine unit inside the home? What type of canines were used in the search? Was there video at the gas station accross from the fire dept, does the fir dept have video surveillance?

  19. Those are some very good questions! I would think that a good reporter would ask them and many more at the next press conference, whenever they finally hold it!

  20. Yes, they are and we are waiting and waiting for more answers to what is going on. I did here there was an older man at the house and may be her dad. And Willows dad lives elsewhere.

  21. 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 …

  22. 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

  23. Wow Anonymous @ 3:55 AM, hope you don't have any children because getting tired goes along with the job, sick or not.

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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?

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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!!! ♥

  30. 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.

  31. 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

  32. Don't be so quick to sympathize with the mother. She lied to police and it sounds like she had foreknowledge of what happened. Look for her arrest in coming days too.

  33. 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.

  34. They stated that the uncle was watching a promo movie, did he rape her then killed her so she wouldn't tell just a thought

  35. the mother didnt see her at all on sunday wots wrong with her why did she lie about seeing her and been sick so how long was it before anyone in that house rang the police their all invovled in her murder

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