Georgia girl kept in cage, starved, beaten, police say

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Georgia Children Found Buried Allegedly Endured Violent Chaos

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A 14-year-old girl was allegedly starved and forced to live in a cage made for a dog before she died and was buried in her family's back yard, authorities said Tuesday.

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Mary Crocker kept losing weight, and her body contorted, conforming to the tight confines of the bars until her joints became swollen, a detective testified Tuesday. Someone took a picture of her in front of the cage, which served as her bedroom and was planted in the kitchen of the family’s home not far from the country courthouse outside Savannah. She was nude and looked gaunt, near death — until one day in late October, she died.

Elwyn 'JR' Crocker Jr., left and his younger sister, Mary Crocker, were found buried in their family's backyard in rural Effingham County, Georgia, back in December. Five family members are facing charges in connection with their deaths.
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Elwyn 'JR' Crocker Jr., left and his younger sister, Mary Crocker, were found buried in their family's backyard in rural Effingham County, Georgia, back in December. Five family members are facing charges in connection with their deaths.

The allegations are among the startling evidence authorities revealed Tuesday in Effingham County Superior Court during a hearing related to the death of Mary Crocker and her brother, Elwyn "JR" Crocker Jr., who was two years older. The siblings' bodies were found buried behind the family's double-wide trailer outside the rural city of Guyton, near Savannah, on Dec. 20 by sheriff's deputies. Neither had ever been reported missing.

Sheriff's investigator Abby Brown said five relatives all allegedly participated in abusing the girl, who was beaten, starved and given food spiked with pungent substances with the hope that she wouldn't eat. It was all said to be punishment for various misbehavior: refusing to exercise, failing to do chores and stealing food.

Elwyn Crocker Sr. is accused of participating in the deaths of his children.
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Elwyn Crocker Sr. is accused of participating in the deaths of his children.

Credit: Effingham County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Effingham County Sheriff's Office

The kids’ father, Elywn Crocker Sr., and step-uncle, Tony Wright, were in court for a preliminary hearing Tuesday. Like the other three relatives charged in the case, they face counts of child cruelty and felony murder.

Explore>> Related: Before death, Georgia children endured violent chaos at home

Wright’s attorney said he maintains his innocence.

Brown said the father admitted to taking part in the abuse at the direction of his wife, Candice Crocker, and her mother, Kim Wright, who are also among the suspects.

The children’s step-uncle, Tony Wright, is also faicng charges in the case.
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The children’s step-uncle, Tony Wright, is also faicng charges in the case.

Credit: Effingham County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Effingham County Sheriff's Office

Explore>> Related: Shock, confusion after 2 kids found buried behind Georgia home

The testimony centered on the death of Mary Crocker, because her death is the only one that has resulted in charges so far, but authorities said her brother was also apparently abused.