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Man Accused of Murdering 7-year-old Says He was 'Putting Her Out of Her Misery'

22-year-old Justin DeRyke being held on $5 million bond.
EFFINGHAM --  The Illnois man accused murdering his 7-year-old niece Willow Long went before a judge Wednesday, where details about the death of Long were revealed.

22-year-old Justin DeRyke told police in a confession that Long, who is his niece, died last Saturday night.  He says it began when Long scratched him while grabbing his arm.  When he yelled at her, she then ran outside, falling into a nearby brush pile, piercing her neck with a stick.

DeRyke then told officials that "he had to end her suffering," so he slashed her throat and stabbed her in the chest.  DeRyke later wrapped her body in plastic, and put her in a nearby river.

Long was discovered missing Sunday morning, prompting an intense search.  Volunteers found her body Tuesday night.

DeRyke was silent in the packed courtroom, only asking when he could see his parents.  He faces three counts of 1st Degree Murder.  He's being held on $5 million bond.  He's slated for another court appearance next week.
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