When the girl was given food, police say it was tainted with vinegar

By Chris Harris
March 06, 2019 12:30 PM
Effingham County Sheriff’s Office

Prosecutors allege that in the final months of a life marked by abuse, 14-year-old Mary Crocker’s killers bound her with zip-ties and kept her confined to a dog cage at all hours. The Georgia teen was allegedly also starved, and when she took food without permission, she was beaten.

These horrific allegations were presented Tuesday by prosecutors against the five people charged in connection with Mary’s death, according to multiple reports.

Mary’s body was discovered five days before Christmas — buried next to her older brother’s remains in the backyard of the home of her father, who was once employed as a Walmart Santa Claus.

Mary was last seen last October and her brother, 14-year-old Elwyn Crocker Jr., was last seen in November 2016, shortly before it is believed he died. Both kids lived with their father, were home-schooled and were never reported missing.

Medical examiners are still trying to determine what caused Mary’s and Elwyn Jr.’s deaths, but prosecutors allege they’ve uncovered evidence to support the murder, concealing the death of another and cruelty to children charges filed late last year against Elwyn Crocker Sr., 49; the teen’s stepmother, Candice Crocker, 33; their step-grandma, Kim Wright, 50; Wright’s boyfriend, Roy Anthony Prater, 55; and Candice Crocker’s brother, Mark Anthony Wright, 31.

Elwyn Crocker Sr.
Effingham County Sheriff's Office

None of the defendants have entered pleas to the charges.

WSB-TV reports that according to prosecutors, Mary’s joints became swollen because of the contorted position she was forced into in the dog cage, which was kept in the kitchen of the family’s mobile home in Guyton, Georgia.

Candace Crocker and Kim Wright
Effingham County Sheriff's Office

Investigators further alleged in court Tuesday a picture of Mary was recovered from her father’s cell phone. In it, she is seen standing in front of the cage, nude, looking gaunt and near death, which prosecutors said she was, reports WTOC.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports authorities alleged the older brother was also abused and charges could arise from his death once medical examiners finish their investigation.

The paper further reports detectives allegedly discovered Mary was beaten with household objects, shocked with a Taser, and, when she was allowed food, it was tainted with rice vinegar. Mary was allegedly only bathed when someone would haul the dog cage into the bathroom to spray her with water.

Roy Prater and Anthony Wright
Effingham County Sheriff's Office (2)

Prosecutors alleged the ongoing abuse was delivered as punishment for minor indiscretions, such as failing to do chores or stealing food, WSB-TV reports The children’s surviving brother, 11, who has cerebral palsy, allegedly told police he was forced to hit Mary with a frying pan after she took some of the specialized food he requires.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the children’s father allegedly lied to police who came to speak to him about Mary after receiving a call from a concerned relative.

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The dad allegedly initially told police he’d sent Mary to live with her mother in South Carolina before offering up a series of other lies. Eventually, he allegedly told police the children were buried behind his home — something he claimed he did at his wife’s direction.

He also allegedly watched his daughter die, calling his wife when it happened to tell her he watched the “light go out of her eyes.”

Lawyers for the five defendants could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Trial dates for all five have not yet been scheduled.