Man accused of killing niece returns to court for pretrial hearing

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ill. (KSDK) - A man accused of killing his 7-year-old niece after being reported missing for two days is due back in court Tuesday.

Justin DeRyke will return to court Tuesday for pretrial motions. He faces a first-degree murder charge for the death of hisniece, Willow Long. Previously, he pleaded not guilty.

Willow's bodywas found last month near Watson, Ill. after an extensive search for her by hundreds of area residents.

According to police, DeRyke confessed to killing Willow, but he said it was to end her suffering after she was impaled on a stick.

DeRyke is being held in the Effingham County Jail on a $5 million bond. His jury trial is scheduled to start Dec. 2.


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