Willow's mom gets probation from plea deal

Published 01/28 2014 04:11PM

Updated 01/28 2014 05:21PM

EFFINGHAM COUNTY -- The mother of murdered 7-year old, Willow Long, pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying to police. Ciara DeRyke was sentenced to probation as part of a plea deal and will be released from jail next Thursday.

Investigators don't believe DeRyke had anything to do with her daughter's murder. Since she's been in jail for more than 50-days, she'll be released for good behavior.

Authorities say DeRyke was the one who reported Willow missing. When police arrived, she told them she had seen her daughter in the living room that morning, but Willow was already dead. Officials don't think she lied to cover up a murder, but rather to cover up "bad parenting."

She was sentenced to 18 months probation with random alcohol and drug testing. DeRyke's brother, Justin, is accused of stabbing Willow to death. He'll be in court next Tuesday for a pre-trial hearing.

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