Willow Long Update: Mother Of Slain 7-Year-Old Arrested On Pot Charge


Ciara DeRyke
  • Ciara DeRyke

Ciara DeRyke, the mother of slain seven-year-old Willow Long, was arrested in Shelby County, Illinois, earlier this month and charged last week with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, according to police.

DeRyke's younger brother, Justin, is currently facing three counts of first-degree murder for Long's death.

On October 14, DeRyke was driving on Route 32 when she lost control of her vehicle, hit a ditch, and rolled off the roadway. Citing the Shelby County State's Attorney's office, the Effingham Daily News reports that police found a small box commonly used to contain marijuana in her car.

The pot charge by itself isn't that serious for DeRyke, but the arrest would appear to further complicate the aftermath her daughter's death.

Though DeRyke hasn't been charged in connection to Long's killing, in September her surviving three-year-old son was taken into protective custody after she came under investigation by the state's Department of Children and Family Services.

See also: Willow Long: Justin DeRyke Pleads Not Guilty to Murder of 7-Year-Old Niece

Willow Long
  • Willow Long

During the initial police investigation of Long's death, DeRyke allegedly told police that her daughter went missing while she was taking a nap the morning of September 8.

However, it turned out that Long had actually gone missing the previous day, and that DeRyke had left her two young children with her brother, 22-year-old Justin DeRyke, while she was out at a local bar.

Long was found two days later wrapped in plastic under a bridge, her throat slashed and her hands covered in defensive wounds.

Justin DeRyke later confessed that he had stabbed the girl in the chest and slashed her throat after she fell and impaled herself on a branch outside their home. He allegedly told police that "he had to end her suffering."

Justin DeRyke made an initial court appearance on October 22, but the trial may not start until next year. He remains locked up in the Effingham County Jail.

Check out Daily RFT's previous coverage for more details of the case.

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com

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