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Mother of Willow Long charged with obstructing investigation

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (AP) - The mother of a 7-year-old southern Illinois girl who authorities say was stabbed to death by an uncle made her first court appearance.

The Effingham Daily News reports 26-year-old Ciara DeRyke of Watson was granted a public defender Tuesday in Effingham County. She faces a misdemeanor obstruction count alleging she lied to authorities.

Authorities say DeRyke claimed to have last seen daughter Willow Long alive in their home the morning of Sept. 8. But the girl was already dead, her body found the next day near a river.

State's Attorney Bryan Kibler says DeRyke wasn't involved in the killing or efforts to conceal it. He alleges she lied to make her appear to be a better mother, covering up that she was out the night of the killing.

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