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Funeral Set for 7-Year-old Illinois Girl Who Was Stabbed to Death

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Willow Long's body was discovered near her Illinois hometown in September days after hundreds of volunteers scoured the area searching for the missing 7 year old.

Willow Long’s body was discovered near her Illinois hometown in September days after hundreds of volunteers scoured the area searching for the missing 7 year old.

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WATSON, Ill. (AP) - funeral will be held Monday for a 7-year-old southern Illinois girl who authorities say was stabbed to death by her uncle.

Services for Willow Long will be held Monday at Effingham’s First Baptist Church. It’s set to begin at 11 a.m.

A visitation is scheduled to take place Saturday at the Hearts Rock Cafe in Effingham High School from 5 to 9 p.m.

Twenty-two-year-old Justin DeRyke was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder. Prosecutors say he told investigators he killed his niece to end her suffering after she accidentally fell onto a brush pile and pierced her neck with a stick near the family’s home in Watson.

DeRyke is being held on $5 million bond and hiring an attorney. He’s set to appear again in court next Thursday.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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