Willow's Mom Arrested for Obstruction


Published on December 9 2013 3:48 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The mother of seven-year-old Willow Long was arrested Monday on a count of obstructing a peace officer in the investigation into Willow's death.

26-year-old Ciara DeRyke was taken into custody early Monday afternoon.  She is being held under $75,000 in Effingham County Jail, and is expected to appear for arraignment in Effingham County Circuit Court Tuesday at 11am.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler said DeRyke is charged with knowingly obstructing the work of Effingham County Sheriff's Deputies Philip Hardiek and Larry Finfrock on Sunday, September 8 during the initial investigation into Willow's disappearance.

Kibler said, "Ciara DeRyke related to these officers on September 8 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."

Kibler would not speculate on DeRyke's motive, but cautioned against one possible theory: "The State's Attorney's office and State Police investigators believe that Ciara DeRyke did not participate in the murder of her child and did not know that her child had been murdered at the time of her statement to the officers."

The obstructing charge against DeRyke is a Class A misdemeanor, punshable by up to one year in jail.

Ciara DeRyke's brother, Justin DeRyke, is in custody for Willow's murder, which he says occurred on Saturday, September 7 outside the home where the family lived in Watson.  He is next due in court in January with a trial scheduled to begin in February.

Meanwhile, Ciara DeRyke appeared in Shelby County Court this morning and pleaded guilty to counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident following a crash in Shelby County October 14.  In exchange for the guilty pleas, DeRyke was fined on each count and must pay court costs.  She was not given any probation.