GUYTON, Ga. (AP/Meredith) — Two Georgia children were found dead and buried in their father's backyard, and their disappearances were never reported.
A Georgia sheriff said the bodies of the two children were found buried in the backyard of their father's Guyton home. Autopsies are underway and a cause of death has not been determined.
Authorities said 14-year-old Mary Crocker hadn't been seen since October, and her brother Elwyn Crocker Jr. hadn't been seen since Nov. 2016 when he was 14.
The Effingham County School System said Mary and Elwyn were removed from school and transferred to a homeschool program.
Effingham County sheriff's officials said Mary and Elwyn's bodies were found last week, and four people have been charged in their deaths: the children's father, 49-year-old Elwyn Crocker; stepmother, 33-year-old Candice Crocker; stepgrandmother, 50-year-old Kim Wright; and Wright's boyfriend, 55-year-old Roy Anthony Prater.
In a Facebook post, officials said all four suspects had their first appearances in court and were all denied bond.
Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said deputies received a tip Wednesday night that 14-year-old Mary Crocker hadn't been seen since October and was feared dead.
He said deputies arrived at the girl's home and were told conflicting stories by family members about how she lived elsewhere. Deputies then searched the property and found the bodies of Mary and Elwyn.
A living 11-year-old child with cerebral palsy was taken from the home and placed this week in the care of his mother, Rebecca Self, of South Carolina.
County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said despite noticing signs of possible abuse, neighbors and acquaintances didn't report their suspicions to authorities.