VIDEO: Interview with Willow Long's Grandmother

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Published on September 13 2013 3:16 pm
Last Updated on September 13 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

In an exclusive interview conducted this morning, the grandmother of Willow Long and the mother of Justin DeRyke who is charged in Willow's death, said she and the family can't imagine why the event happened.

Debbie DeRyke said she and her husband Dale were phoned by their daughter Ciara, Willow's mother, on Sunday that Willow was missing.  Dale and Debbie are over-the-road truck drivers and had left the family home in Watson Saturday evening.  She said she prayed that "God would take my life if Willow would be alright."  She also said she can't understand why her son would do what he has admitted he did regarding Willow's death, saying he and Willow always got along.

Mrs. DeRyke made a point of saying, "We are not supporting our son (with any of the funds being donated)."

Debbie DeRyke also told us that the family does not want any of the money that might be collected in a fund established at Crossroads Bank.  She said the family wants it to go to the emergency services personnel involved in the two-day search for her granddaughter to help cover the bills incurred by the agencies. 

Justin DeRyke is being held in Effingham County Circuit Court under $5 million bond.  He is next due in court Thursday for a first appearance with his legal counsel.  He indicated that he planned to hire his own attorney.