Prosecutor: Uncle arrested in death of niece, 7 - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Prosecutor: Uncle arrested in death of niece, 7

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Justin DeRyke (Source: ISP) Justin DeRyke (Source: ISP)
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WATSON, IL (KFVS) -

The Effingham County State's Attorney says officers have arrested the uncle of a 7-year-old girl whose body was found a day after she went missing.

The body of Willow Long, 7, of Watson, Illinois was found Monday evening by volunteer searchers south of Watson.

Justin D. DeRyke, 22, of Watson, was arrested around 5:55 a.m. on a first degree murder charge with possible additional charges to be filed later.

He is the maternal uncle of Willow.

Authorities have said the girl vanished Sunday from her home while her mother napped.

The prosecutor says in a statement that an autopsy Tuesday positively identified the body as Willow. The statement did not indicate what caused Willow's death.

It's unclear if DeRyke has an attorney, and he doesn't have a listed home telephone number.

DeRyke is set to appear in court on Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the Effingham County Government Center.

Copyright 2013 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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