Store Santa Arrested After The Bodies Of His 2 Kids Are Found Buried In His Backyard
“The biggest question some of us are asking is, how did the little boy go missing for two years and nobody identified that?” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Gena Sullivan said.
GUYTON, GA — A former department store Santa has been arrested in connection with the deaths of two of his children who were found buried in his Georgia back yard.
The remains of Elwyn Crocker Jr., a 14-year-old who vanished two years ago, and his sister Mary, 14, who was last seen in October, were unearthed in the small farming town of Guyton last week, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Elwyn Crocker Sr., 50, led deputies to the grave sites in the yard. Until recently, Crocker Sr. had portrayed Santa at a Walmart in Rincon.
Mary had last been seen in October 2018, and her brother Elwyn was last seen in November 2016, according to the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers were dispatched to the residence in the 400 block of Rosebud Place after a tipster called 911 on December 19 and expressed concerns about Mary’s whereabouts.
Deputies questioned all family members in the home and determined that they were giving conflicting information, according to a statement from the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office.
The AJC reported that investigators found that Mary had most likely been buried for several months, and Elwyn for “maybe as long as two years.”
The childrens’ stepmother, Candice Crocker, 33; her mother, Kim Wright, 50; and Wright’s boyfriend, Anthony Prater, 55; also face charges including concealing a death and child cruelty.
They remain in Effingham County jail without bond, and police say more charges may be forthcoming.
A third child, who has special needs, was found alive in the home and was taken to a local hospital for observation.
“I’ve been doing this 41 years, and a while ago I almost broke down in tears,” Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie told reporters.
Police said that the family had been reported to the Division of Family and Children Services in the past, but neither of the victims, Elwyn Jr. nor his sister, were ever officially reported missing.
They were withdrawn from public school and home schooled for some time before they were last seen, according to news reports. Neighbors said they often saw Mary doing yard work.
Investigators are still trying to locate the children’s mother, who is believed to be homeless and living in South Carolina.
"The biggest question some of us are asking is, how did the little boy go missing for two years and nobody identified that?” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Gena Sullivan said.
Coroner David Exley stated that it could take weeks to determine the cause and manner of death. The investigation continues.