A Georgia father and three other people were arrested after officials discovered the remains of the man’s two 14-year-old children in his backyard.
Elwyn Crocker Jr. was last seen in November 2016, and his sister, Mary Crocker, was last seen in October 2018, said Effingham County Coroner David Exley, to People. Their remains were discovered last week in Elwyn Crocker Sr.’s home.
On Dec. 26, more details about the case emerged. A third sibling, who is still alive, was removed from Crocker Sr.’s home last week, WTOC reported. The child’s mother, Rebecca Self, went to Effingham County from South Carolina, saying she wants the 11-year-old boy, named James, returned to her custody. She claimed she hadn’t seen him since 2009.
The dead children were not reported missing by Crocker Sr. or anyone else, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Officials made the discovery after receiving a tip about Mary Crocker’s remains.
This is Mary and Elwyn Crocker jr. Deputies say they are the two children found buried near their home. Their father, stepmother and step grandmother are now being detained and questioned in their deaths. It was a gruesome story that unfolded in Effingham County today@WTGSFOX28 pic.twitter.com/EgVDV8iiw6
— Robert Catanese (@RCataneseWTGS) December 21, 2018
“I’ve been doing this 41 years, and a while ago I almost broke down in tears,” Effingham Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said last week, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“It’s that bad. I cannot understand how you do children like this. It’s horrible,” he continued.
Crocker Sr. and his wife, Candice Crocker, were charged with concealing the death of another and cruelty to children in the first degree, WTOC reported. The children’s step-grandmother, Kim Wright, was arrested and faces the same charges. Wright’s boyfriend, Roy Anthony Prater, was also arrested for concealing the death of another, cruelty to children in the first degree, and possession of a scheduled or controlled substance.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Crocker Sr. had recently worked as a Santa Claus at a Walmart in Rincon.
Officials are now figuring out what happened to the children. Neighbors recalled to WTOC in another report that the children spent most of their time inside the home or doing yard work.
“Other kids said at school, they could tell stuff was wrong with her hands. They were red,” Gary Bennett said of Mary. “That was from being out in the yard out there most of the time working, doing stuff from the time she got off that bus until they would go in at night. Then she would go to school and kids would see her and ask what was wrong and she wouldn’t ever say anything. She wouldn’t open up to anybody.”
Another neighbor, Raymond Strickland, told WTOC that he doesn’t understand how people could continue to live at their home knowing that children are buried on the property.
“They just went about their lives like nothing,” Strickland said of Crocker Sr. and the three other suspects. He added: “It’s like, how could you, and with any kind of spirit in your body? How could you continue on in just a normal manner?”
He continued, “The whole community is heartbroken about it. Everybody is hurt by this.”
But Self, the biological mother, said she doesn’t understand why neighbors who lived near the family didn’t do anything to help.
“After seeing all of the comments of people in the trailer park, they’re the ones that called the sheriff’s department, they’re the ones that did this,” Self told WTOC. “Where were you when all of this happened? Why didn’t you say anything? Why did you not just push the case? You could have saved that little girl’s life.”