Former Walmart Santa Charged After Bodies of His Two Kids Found Buried in Backyard

elwyn crocker sr. georgia children buried
Elwyn Crocker Sr. was charged in connection with the death of his two children, who were found buried in his backyard. Effingham County Sheriff's Office

A man, who previously worked as a Santa Claus impersonator, was arrested and charged in the death of his two children after they were found buried on his property.

Elwyn Crocker Sr. is being held in Effingham County Jail in Effingham County, Georgia, on one charge of cruelty to children and another charge of concealing the death of another. On Thursday, the Effingham County Sheriff's Office found the bodies of Elwyn's son, Elwyn Crocker Jr., who disappeared in November 2016, and his daughter, Mary Crocker, who was missing since October, according to the Effingham County Sheriff's Office.

Elwyn Jr. went missing when he was 14 and would have been 17 now and Thursday was what would have been Mary's 14th birthday. Neither child had an official missing persons report filed.

"I've been doing this 41 years, and a while ago I almost broke down in tears," Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said during a press conference. "It's that bad. I cannot understand how you do children like this. It's horrible."

Police officers were dispatched to the house after someone called in a tip about Mary, who had not been seen in weeks and the tipster feared she'd been killed. When deputies questioned the adult family members, they were told the 13-year-old went to live with her mother. However, investigators determined that the adults were giving them conflicting information.

Elwyn Sr. provided investigators with information that caused them to search the grounds of the home, which is where they found two bodies buried just inside the wood line. An autopsy was required to determine the identities of the children, which was completed on Monday. Coroner David Exley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that a determination on the cause and manner of death is still pending and the investigation could take weeks.

"This is a very unusual crime, especially in this area, a good, close-knit community," Exley said. "Many people cannot believe this happened."

Elwyn Sr. turned 50 on Tuesday and until recently, portrayed Santa at a Walmart store in Rincon, Georgia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Along with Elwyn Sr., the children's stepmother Candice Crocker, step-grandmother Kim Wright and Wright's boyfriend, Anthony Prater were charged in connection to the children's deaths. Candice and Wright were both charged with concealing the death of another and cruelty to children in the first degree. Prater was charged with concealing the death of another, cruelty to children in the first degree and possession of a scheduled or controlled substance.

All four people charged in the case had their first appearance and were denied bond. A third child was found at the home and was taken to a local hospital for observation. The investigation is still ongoing and the Effingham County Sheriff's Office said more charges could be forthcoming depending on the manner of death.