Ciara DeRyke pleads guilty to misleading police

Jan. 29, 2014 at 4:29 PM
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EFFINGHAM, Ill., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- An Illinois mother whose daughter was allegedly killed by a relative has pleaded guilty to lying to police during the investigation.

Ciara N. DeRyke, 26, mother of slain tot Willow Long, will serve a 120-day jail sentence followed by 18 months of probation in a plea deal approved by Effingham County Circuit Court Judge James Eder, the Effingham Daily News reported.

Investigators say when DeRyke first called police Sept. 8 she said her daughter, 7, disappeared from the family's home in Southern Illinois while she was taking a nap and she had seen Willow that morning.

In reality, she was not at the home and her children were being watched by their uncle, Justin DeRyke, 22, who has since been charged with the child's death.

Police said Ciara DeRyke's misleading comments triggered an intense search in blazing summer heat. The child's body was later found wrapped in plastic and secured with duct tape in a wooded area.

With credit for time served, Ciara DeRyke will be released from jail Feb. 6.

The case against Justin DeRyke is still pending.

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