Funeral set for girl allegedly killed by uncle

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Effingham (AP) -- Family and friends will say their formal goodbyes to a 7-year-old southern Illinois girl who authorities say was stabbed to death by her uncle.

 

Services for Willow Long of the tiny village of Watson in Effingham County are scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at Effingham High School, followed by private burial.

 

Twenty-two-year-old Justin DeRyke was charged last Wednesday with first-degree murder in Willow's death.

 

Prosecutors say he told investigators he killed his niece to end her suffering after she accidentally fell onto a brush pile and pierced her neck with a stick near the family's home.

 

DeRyke is being held on $5 million bond and hiring an attorney. He's set to appear again in court Thursday.

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