Southern Illinois Man Arrested in Death of Niece, 7

By  | 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A southern Illinois prosecutor says officers have arrested the uncle of a girl whose body was found a day after she went missing.

Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler says he expects to file first-degree murder charges Wednesday against 22-year-old Justin DeRyke.

Kibler says DeRyke was arrested about 6 a.m. Tuesday in the death of Willow Long. The girl's body was found Monday night near their 730-resident village of Watson. 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.