Justin DeRyke has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of his neice, 7-year old Willow Long.
Our news partners at WAND-TV report Justin DeRyke, 22, entered the plea in Effingham County Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon.
Long’s body was discovered in a wooded area near her home after a search was launched involving hundreds of volunteers. She was found with numerous stab wounds to her neck, apparently made with a stick — wounds DeRyke initially said were accidental.
DeRyke will receive a life sentence.