Willow's mom granted continuance

Published 01/16 2014 12:26PM

Updated 01/16 2014 12:30PM

EFFINGHAM COUNTY -- The mother of a murdered 7-year old was granted a continuance Thursday. Willow Long, from Watson, was murdered in September. Her mother, Ciara DeRyke, is charge with obstructing the investigation.

Police say she kept information from them. In a hearing Thursday morning, a judge moved her pretrial to January 28, at 11 am. WCIA-3's Jillian Deam has a look back at how the investigation unfolded.

Thousands of volunteers spring into action to help when Willow first went missing.

"If it was my daughter, I'd want anybody and everybody to come out and help."

After two long days spent searching across Effingham County, Willow's body was found in Watson. Her uncle, 22-year old Justin DeRyke was accused of brutally murdering her.

"I just cried when I found out. It makes me sick."

DeRyke told police Willow tripped and fell into a pile of sticks and that one got lodged in her neck, so he "put her out of her misery," by slitting her throat and stabbing her five times. Then, he told police, he wrapped her body in plastic bags and dumped her south of the village.

His father, who is Willow's grandfather, defended Justin.

"He's only 22-years out. He thought she was dead. He was scared. He wasn't thinking correctly."

It was shocking for many people to hear.

"How do you tell a 6-year old that her friend died and her family did it?"

Willow's mother, Ciara, now faces charges for obstructing the investigation. The State's Attorney says they don't think Ciara was involved in Willow's death, but they say she lied to police about the last time she saw her daughter. She faces a year behind bars.

As for Justin, his trial was set to begin December 2, but that didn't happen. His lawyer asked it be pushed back. It's now set for February 10.

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