Willow Long’s brother in protective custody; mother & uncle under investigation

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WATSON, IL (KTVI) – The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services took 7-year-old Willow Long’s 3-year-old brother into custody on Sept 10th.  Both the mother Ciarra DeRyke and uncle Justin DeRyke are under investigation by the department. A report to DCFS regarding the child was called in on Sunday Sept, 8th. The children lived in a home in Watson, IL with their mother, uncle and grandparents.

The childrens uncle Justin Deryke, 22, is charged with three counts of first degree murder. Police believe Willow died Saturday night before anyone started searching for her.

According to court documents, Deryke claims around 11pm on Saturday Willow grabbed his hand to get him to watch a movie. He claims the tug on his hand resulted in a scratch, and he became angry.

He says Willow then ran out of the house and fell on a brush pile causing a branch to stab her in the neck. Deryke says he had to end her suffering so he got a knife, slit her throat, and stabbed her repeatedly in the heart.

An autopsy showed Willow also had defensive wounds on her hands, which don`t coincide with DeRyke’s story. The case goes to the grand jury next Wednesday.