More details have been released in the Willow Long Murder Case. Some details below are graphic.

Justin DeRyke, age 22, was charged in Effingham County Court Wednesday with three counts of alleged murder, all class M Felonies.  According to documents from the Effingham State’s Attorney Office, DeRyke was at home alone with seven year old Willow Long and Willow’s three year old brother the night of Saturday September 7th at the home they shared at 104 Circle Drive in Watson Illinois. 

DeRyke, who is Willow’s uncle, had told Police that he had yelled at Willow that night around 10:30 p.m., and that Willow subsequently ran from the home and fell into a brush pile causing a stick to become impaled into Willow’s neck. 

DeRyke told police that he wanted to end Willow’s suffering and allegedly used a knife to slice her throat and stab her in the heart.  Then DeRyke allegedly wrapped Willow’s body in plastic bags and used his car to dump her body in a rural remote location in Effingham County.  Willow’s body was found partly submerged in water and still wrapped in several bags Monday night around 7:30 p.m. by volunteer searchers. 

The autopsy revealed that Willow’s throat had been slashed along with more knife cuts near her collarbone, including a stab wound that severed Willow’s sub-clavicle vein which was fatal.  Cuts were also found on Willow’s hands consistent with being defensive wounds. 

DeRyke, currently being held on $5 million dollars bail, could face life in prison and will next be in court on September 19th.       


A public hearing, lasting over two hours, began the September regular Greenville City Council meeting Tuesday night at City Hall.  The hearing concerned the proposed Business Tax District around the I-70 Route 127 corridor.  The council heard from several business owners located inside the new proposed district and nearly all the input from those business owners was against the the Business Tax District.  Many business owners pointed out that the extra 1% sales tax that would be collected inside the district would put their businesses at a disadvantage with those located outside the district. 

Three local restaurant owners, Bob Funderburk, Julie Embry, and Robert Ellsworth, pointed out that 70-80% of their business comes from local customers and it will be those local residents that pay this new tax.  Peter Rabbit, Regional Director for Buchheit, said that they will have competition a mile down the road that will not have to collect this tax. 

Reid Willen, Chief Financial Officer of Buchheit said that it’s the store’s experience that raising sales tax has a negative impact on their sales, especially their commercial business.  Gail Wade from CC Food Mart said that the new tax would raise their gas prices by $4,500 per month or 3½ - 4 cents per gallon of gas, and this would give other gas stations an unfair advantage. 

Mayor Alan Gaffner told those in attendance that no final decision has been made to form the business tax district; however a special Greenville City Council meeting was announced for Tuesday, September 24th and Gaffner said that one of the few items at that meeting would be consideration of the Business Tax District.  If the district is passed the sales tax rate inside the district would go from 6.75 to 7.75 percent.  

City Manager Dave Wiley said the tax collected, estimated at approximately $225,000 annually, would be used to improve infrastructure inside the Business Tax District, including sidewalks, pedestrian bridges, road improvements, and drainage improvements, along with new infrastructure.  It was said by both business owners and city council members that improvements do need to be made to the entrance to Greenville off I-70 at Route 127.   



The Bond County Relay for Life held their Surivor Dinner Tuesday evening at the St. Lawrence Cathlic Church Hall. Jennifer Lappe told WGEL that the dinner was a huge success. 76 survivors participated in the event, which honors their battle against cancer. Lappe co-chairs the Survivor Dinner and Team Recruitment Committees with Patti Brooks.

The Bond County Relay for Life is coming up Friday, September 13th and Saturday, September 14th at the Greenville High School Track. For more infomation on the Relay, call 664-9272.

The 2013 King and Queen of Relay in Bond County:

Caleb Campbell and Cassidy Spencer.

Volunteers (L to R) Gina Lewis, Jane Wilhite,

Anne Langham, and Jody Brown Weiss.

Volunteers Ron and Vickie Cook.

Many dedicated volunteers prepare to serve dinner.

Greenville Regional Hospital President & CEO Brian Nall

greets Survivor Dinner participants. Greenville Regional

Hospital sponsored the event.

Photos courtesy of the Bond County Relay for Life


Candidates are preparing for the 2014 Primary Election.  Tuesday, September 3rd was the first day that candidates could begin circulating their nominating petitions.  They will be required to file their nomination papers between November 25th and December 2nd. 

On the ballot in Bond County, voters will choose a County Clerk, County Treasurer, County Sheriff, and fill the County Board positions in Districts 2, 4 & 5.  The state offices on the ballot include Governor/Lietenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer.  Several political positions will be included in the primary election as well, including one U.S. Senate seat, U.S. Representatives in all 18 Illinois districts, Representatives in the Illinois General Assembly, and State Senators.

Those interested in running for office in Bond County may pick up a nominating petition at the County Clerk’s Office.  For more information about the Primary Election, call their office at 664-0449.

The 2014 Primary Election will be held Tuesday, March 18th.  The General Election will be held Tuesday, November 4th, 2014.




The “Golden Rows Test Plot Field Day,” sponsored by the Greenville FFA Chapter, is tomorrow from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  An overview of the plot with seed companies is from noon to 1:00 p.m.  You can see some of the latest technology in the seed corn industry from some of the leading producers.  The test plot is west of Greenville and east of Pocahontas next to Lake Raymond Estates along Rt. 140.  A lunch of pork burgers and hot dogs will be provided.


Our Common Ground’s 9th Annual Autumn Artwalk will be held Saturday, September 21st from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.  Martha Sussenbach told WGEL this year’s event will be held in downtown Greenville in the Mavis Gallery on Beaumont and throughout the Bradford National Bank Community Building. 

Our Common Ground is sponsoring artist Piety Choi of Philadelphia in the Mavis Gallery.  SIU-C Art Professor Aaron Palmer and Sculptor Adam Long will be in the Bradford Community Building.  There will be live music, as well as two food trucks, featuring delicious food.  For more information about Our Common Ground or this year’s Artwalk event, visit the website www.OCGArt.org.



Sheri Morris-Balla

Sheri Morris-Balla, age 48, of Donnellson, formerly of Litchfield, passed away Tuesday at St. Louis University Hospital.  No services are planned at this time for 48 year-old Sheri Morris-Balla.  The Bass Patton Dean Funeral Home in Hillsboro is in charge of arrangements.

Judith Ann Chumley

Judith Ann Chumley, age 72 of Coffeen, passed away on Wednesday at St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield.  Funeral services for 72 year-old Judith Ann Chumley will be Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at the Bass Patton Dean Funeral Home in Hillsboro.  Burial will be in Sunnyside Cemetery in Sorento.  Friends may call on Friday from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

All stories in the WGEL Daily are copyright protected and are NOT for use without the permission of WGEL Radio.

Do you subscribe to the WGEL Daily? If not sign up now for free daily News!

For Email Marketing you can trust

Wgel.com | Community Calendar | Daily Archive