Family of murdered teen starved her, beat her and kept her in cage: cops

Before she died, a 14-year-old Georgia girl was beaten, starved, and kept in a dog pen almost 24 hours a day, investigators revealed in chilling testimony Tuesday.

Mary Crocker, of Springfield, was confined to a cage in her family’s kitchen for so long, that it disfigured her body and caused inflammation in her joints, investigator Abby Brown testified, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported. Her relatives once allegedly duct-taped Crocker to a ladder to see if her body would straighten out, Brown added.

Mary’s only surviving brother, James, 11, who suffers from cerebral palsy, said that his family instructed him to hit his sister with a frying pan for taking his lactose-free food, Brown revealed.

“They would pick up the kennel and they would tote it into the bathroom, and they would just hose her in the kennel down, and that’s how she was bathed,” Brown said during the testimony.

“She was having food withheld from her as punishment. We also learned through our investigation that they would do things to her food such as putting rice vinegar in it and so forth to make it taste bad in hopes that she would not eat it.”

Police said they seized a nude photo of Mary on her father’s cell phone in which she appeared gaunt and near death. The child died sometime in late October, investigators said.

Deputies found Mary and her brother, Elwyn “JR” Crocker Jr., 16, buried behind their family’s trailer last December. Both teens were homeschooled and neither of them was reported missing, although Mary hadn’t been seen since October 2018 and her brother last seen in 2016, Fox reported.

Tuesday’s testimony only focused on Mary’s alleged abuse because her death is the only one that resulted in charges. Investigators could potentially file more charges after medical examiners finish analyzing her teen brother’s body.

Cops charged several relatives on felony murder charges: Crocker’s dad, Elwyn Crocker Sr., 50; his wife and the children’s stepmother, Candice Crocker, 33; her mother, Kim Wright; Wright’s boyfriend, Roy Anthony Prater, 55; and Tony Wright, 31, Crocker’s step-uncle. They also were booked on child cruelty charges.

All are being held without bond.

Crocker Sr., who once worked as a Walmart Santa, admitted burying both the kids and taking part in Mary’s abuse, but he said he did it because his wife and Kim Wright made him. One the day of Mary’s death, Crocker Sr. told Candice to buy cement and trash bags, Brown recalled.

“She was at work and Mr. Crocker called her and told her deceased and that he watched the light go out of her eyes,” Brown said in the testimony.

When questioned about Asked about Elwyn Jr.’s death, the father told investigators he’d gotten a call one day from his wife and Wright that he died and later saw his son dead in the bathroom.

The state’s Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) faced widespread criticism following the children’s deaths. In 2017, DFCS didn’t investigate an abuse complaint from the home because the complaint was a year old, the A.C.J reported. James is still in state custody, WTOC reported.

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