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Willow Long’s mother, Ciara DeRyke, has officially been charged with obstructing a peace officer in relation to her daughter’s murder. 7-year-old Willow was found dead at the hands of her maternal uncle, Justin DeRyke, in September 2013. You can read my prior post about Willow’s death HERE.
Ciara is being accused of knowingly obstructing the work of investigators on September 8, 2013, during the initial investigation into Willow’s disappearance. Authorities believe she lied to authorities when she said she saw her daughter watching TV the morning of September 8, even though Willow is believed to have been murdered hours earlier.
Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler explains the charge:
“Ciara DeRyke related to these officers on September 8th that she had observed and interacted with her daughter earlier that same morning. We believe that, in making such a statement, Ms. DeRyke was knowingly furnishing false information.”
It was definitely something that a lot of people who had been following this case had picked up on when Willow’s body had been found. I remember thinking to myself, “Didn’t Willow’s mom say she had seen her the morning of September 8? If Willow had been murdered the night before, how could that be true?”
The below video is of a press conference with Effingham County Sheriff John Monnet, where he talks about exactly what Ciara said about that morning.
So why did Ciara lie to investigators about having seen her daughter? Authorities won’t speculate on a motive, but they do make it clear that they don’t believe she had anything to do with, or even knew about, her daughter’s murder when she lied.
Justin’s trial is set for February 2014.
UPDATE: 12/19/13 8:20 PM
Ciara pleaded not guilty this morning in court. Her bond was lowered to $15,000.
UPDATE: 1/31/14 10:54 AM
Ciara changed her plea to guilty on Tuesday, and was sentenced to 120 days in jail. She will also have to spend 18 months on probation.
– Ciara DeRyke Charged With Obstructing A Peace Officer in Investigation of Willow Long’s Disappearance
– Willow’s mom pleads not guilty to obstruction charge
– Willow Long’s mom pleads guilty to obstruction