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A 14-year-old Georgia girl was kept in a dog crate, beaten, bound with zip ties, and starved before she died and was buried in the family’s back yard, an investigator testified Tuesday.
The abuse was allegedly inflicted by Mary Crocker’s own family, including her father, who once worked as a Walmart santa. Elwyn Crocker Sr., 50, is facing charges of felony murder in Mary’s death, along with four other relatives who are also accused of abusing the girl and her brother, Elwyn “JR” Crocker Jr., according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The bodies of both siblings were found buried behind the family’s double-wide trailer on December 20.
Investigator Abby Brown testified Tuesday about the horrific abuse the teen allegedly endured before her death, as part of a bond hearing for Crocker Sr. and Mark Anthony Wright, the brother of the girl’s step-mother, WSAV reports.
According to Brown, Crocker Sr. admitted to keeping the 14-year-old naked in a dog crate kept in the family’s kitchen. They would bind her with zip ties to prevent her from escaping. When she needed a bath, someone would haul the crate into the bathroom and spray her with water. She was kept in the crate so often that her joints became stiff and swollen, and the family decided to try to straighten out her posture by duct taping her to a ladder.
One photo, stored on Crocker Sr.’s phone, allegedly showed the teen standing naked and emaciated next to the dog crate shortly before her death on October 28, 2018. The teen’s body wouldn’t be discovered for several months, buried alongside her older brother who was believed to be killed two years earlier.
The family is also accused of starving Mary as a form of punishment. When they did feed her, they would often put rice vinegar and other substances in the food “in the hopes that she would not eat,” or serve her special food just for her that was described as grey, Brown said.
Mary’s one surviving brother, James, 11, told investigators that he required special lactose-free food because of his cerebral palsy, but said on one occasion he was instructed by his step-grandmother to hit his sister after she took his food.
“He hit her with a frying pan,” Brown said, according to the local paper.
Crocker Sr. and Wright were both denied bail and the cases were bound over for a grand jury. The children’s stepmother Candice Crocker, 33, her mother, Kim Wright, 50, and Kim Wright’s boyfriend, Roy Anthony Prater, 55, are also facing charges stemming from the alleged abuse.
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