Trial date pushed back for Justin DeRyke


Effingham - The trial date has been pushed back for an uncle accused of killing his 7-year-old niece, Willow Long.


Justin DeRyke's attorneys met for a pre-trial hearing today, but got it pushed back to February 2nd.


DeRyke was watching his niece Willow back in September of 2013, investigators say he killed her and hid her body.


The community and officials spent countless hours searching for her when she was reported missing on Sunday September 8th.  Around 7:30 p.m. Monday September 9th four volunteers found a small child in an area south of the village of Watson in Effingham County. An autopsy confirmed the identify of the body to be Willow Long.  


Ciara DeRyke, 26, Willow's mother, was taken into custody for obstructing an officer. Ciara told officers back in September, that she saw her daughter on morning of September 8th, even though Willow had reportedly died the night before.          


Justin DeRyke's trial date in February will also be moved. He plead not guilty to first degree murder charges.

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