Editor’s note: Details of this story are disturbing
SPRINGFIELD, Ga. (WSAV) – A bond hearing for two suspects accused in the murder of two Effingham County teens reveals further details in the days leading up to their deaths.
Elwyn Crocker Sr. and Mark Anthony Wright are both being held on charges related to the death of 14-year-old Mary Crocker and her brother Elwyn Crocker Jr., who would have been 16 this year.
The teens were found buried near their Guyton home in December.
Bond was denied for both Crocker Sr. and Wright and the cases were bound over to a grand jury.
Crocker, the biological father of Mary and Elwyn Jr., faces multiple charges, including felony murder, concealing the death of another and cruelty to children in the first degree.
Authorities say he admitted to all of the charges, claiming his wife and his mother convinced him to commit the crimes.
Wright is being held on felony murder and cruelty to children in the first degree. He is the brother of the teens’ stepmom, Candice Crocker, and is said to have been living in the Guyton home.
The other suspects in this case — Candice Crocker, Kimberly Wright, and Roy Prayter — all remain behind bars without bond.
The lead investigator testified Tuesday, sharing disturbing details she learned from the children’s father.
According to detectives, Crocker Sr. admitted he buried Mary and Elwyn Jr., behind their home. He also revealed that Mary died on October 28, 2018, nearly two months before her body was discovered during a welfare check.
On Tuesday, officials revealed that Wright called his aunt in South Carolina when he heard the children’s father and stepmother discussing Mary’s death.
JoAnn Groover contacted police which sparked the search for the children.
Crocker Sr. initially told police Mary moved to South Carolina with her mom. But he eventually admitted to killing both Mary and Elwyn Jr., saying Candice Crocker and Kimberly Wright told him to do it.
“After some discussion, he (Mr. Crocker) advised us that Mary was, in fact, deceased and that she was buried in the backyard. They asked him also about Elwyn Crocker Jr., and he then at that time advised investigators that he was also buried in the backyard,” Effingham County Sheriff’s Office Detective Abby Brown explained.
A third child, 11-year-old James Crocker, who has cerebral palsy, was found alive in the home.
“He was laying on the bathroom floor of the master bedroom, covered up in a blanket,” Brown said.
The detectives said James told DFCS about ongoing abuse inside the home.
“James began to utter information about Mary being kept in a dog kennel that was located inside of the kitchen of the home,” Brown explained.
According to Crocker Sr., it was a form of punishment for the young girl.
“He did admit that Mary Crocker was, in fact, kept in a dog kennel, naked, in the kitchen the common area of the house, was zip tied so that she would not get out. We also learned from Mr. Crocker that that was a form of punishment that she had food withheld from her,” Brown said.
Investigators discovered photos showing Mary, naked and malnourished, with bruises on her face, hands, and body.
Brown said she was fed food with rice vinegar and other substances in it to affect the taste, “in hopes that she would not eat.”
“They would not allow her to eat, and if she did, it was special food that was made just for her which has been described by other people as grey and something nobody would want to eat,” Brown added.
Authorities say family members admitted that the 14-year-old was tased.
In addition, they said the child became so stiff from being confined to the kennel, her family would duct tape her to a ladder to straighten her posture.
Studies show what Mary and Elwyn allegedly endured is common in child abuse cases. 89 percent of abused kids are starved, denied water, and isolated. 61 percent are physically restrained. 36 percent end in death.
Wright told investigators he did not know the kids were being abused.
No information was revealed about how Elwyn Crocker Jr., was treated before his death but those details are expected to come out as the investigation moves forward.
We are still waiting for the official autopsies.
According to the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, several of the suspects have been moved out of the county to separate jail locations for their safety.
Wright is the only suspect being held in Effingham County Jail. Crocker Sr. has been moved to Emanuel County.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Four men are now in custody in a kidnapping and murder case that is believed to have been retaliation for the death of former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Carlos Gray, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO).
RELATED: Former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman found shot to death in Jefferson County home
In a release, the JCSO said they responded to a report of a shooting in the 5700 block of Balboa Terrace late Monday night. When they arrived, they found 25-year-old Carlos Gray dead from apparent gunshot wounds, with marijuana, digital scales and guns out in plain sight.
Around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, deputies were called to a convenience store in the 2100 block of Old Springville Road to investigate the report of a kidnapping. An adult male reported that he and another male identified, as Darryl Jermaine Thomas, were kidnapped at gunpoint by five men in the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex.
RELATED: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigating kidnapping possibly linked to homicide
Three of the suspects were reportedly in a white Chevrolet Avalanche and the other two were in an Infinity sedan, according to a release from the JCSO. The victims were reportedly forced into the Avalanche with the Infinity following behind as they drove down Old Springville Road. The victim escaped near the convenience store and called for help.
Nearby deputies stopped the suspects in the Infinity and took them into custody for questioning.
Around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, deputies responded to a report of a body found near 3rd Place and Avenue S in Lipscomb. The victim was identified as the second kidnapping victim, Darryl Jermaine Thomas.
RELATED: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigating after body discovered on Lipscomb dirt road
The US Marshal’s Task Force located the Avalanche involved in the kidnapping in Hoover late Tuesday night and took the one suspect into custody. They located another suspect at his home and took him into custody as well.
Detectives determined that one of the kidnapping suspects was close friends with murder victim Carlos Gray. Investigators believe the kidnapping and murder were in retaliation for the murder of Gray.
“We believe the initial victim Gray had bragged about a large amount of money and drugs,” explained Jefferson County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Randy Christian.
Christian said investigators believe robbery was the motive that led to Gray’s slaying, and that Thomas was the suspect in that case.
“Lifestyle choices have consequences. This kind of lifestyle choice often ends the way this case did. Our prayer is that others headed down that road will walk away from it,” Christian said.
All four suspects are in the Jefferson County Jail awaiting formal charges of first-degree kidnapping and capital murder.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. CT; CBS 42 will stream it live. Watch live here.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – A central Indiana mother who pleaded guilty to murdering her two children is set to be sentenced Monday afternoon.
Brandi Worley, 31, faces a minimum prison sentence of 45 years and a maximum sentence of 130 years for each of the two counts of murder.
She could be ordered to serve the sentences concurrently or consecutively, at the judge’s discretion. The maximum time, served consecutively, would result in a 260-year imprisonment.
Worley admitted to killing her 7-year-old son, Tyler, and 3-year-old daughter, Charlee, in November 2016, according to court documents.
She stabbed her children with a combat knife at their home in Darlington, about 40 miles northwest of Indianapolis, hours after her husband filed for divorce.
Worley can be heard making the chilling admission in a 911 call while her husband slept in the basement.
“I just stabbed myself and I killed my two children,” she calmly informed Kyle Proctor, the 911 dispatcher who took her call. “There’s blood everywhere.”
The “hardest part” was hearing the horrified screams of the children’s grandmother, Proctor told 24-Hour News 8 in a 2016 interview.
“I looked behind me and I got an officer crying,” he said. “The other dispatcher’s got tears [in his eyes] and you’re trying to hold it together.”
Worley initially pleaded not guilty before accepting a plea deal in January, court documents revealed.
Her sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Montgomery Circuit Court.