Crocker Case: Effingham Co. School District sued over death of teen girl

Published: Jul. 13, 2023 at 5:50 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2023 at 6:19 PM EDT
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A new lawsuit filed in connection to the double murder case of two Effingham County teens - Mary and Elwyn Crocker, Jr.

It’s now been almost five years since the siblings were found dead in their family’s backyard.

This is a more than $3 million lawsuit including damages for mental and emotional suffering as well as the full value of Mary’s life. The lawsuit states if the school district had contacted police, Mary could still be alive.

The lawsuit focuses on an Effingham County School District Policy that requires reports of child abuse to be reported to “investigating authorities” – which includes leadership in the school district and the Division of Family and Children Services – as well as notifying law enforcement.

In March 2017, the lawsuit references a report of abuse from one of Elwyn Crocker, Jr.’s peers who says she “heard Junior screaming and his grandmother telling him to shut-up. They also heard a belt being slapped against skin.”

The abuse had been discussed in school to a guidance counselor or social worker in the school district, referred to as Jane Doe in the lawsuit – who reported to DFCS, but DFCS decided to not investigate the report.

However, the suit states that “causing the report of abuse to be made to DFCS does not alone satisfy the ECSD protocol on abuse.”

And that “Jane Doe was negligent in its failure to perform this duty of reporting the abuse to either the local police or sheriff’s department.”

It also states the counselor failed to submit the abuse to district leadership who were each required to provide the report to local law enforcement.

The lawsuit alleges if these complaints of the abuse of Elwyn Crocker, Jr. were properly investigated in March 2017 - it would have led to the discovery of the torture Mary experienced as well and less than two years later, Mary and Elwyn Jr.’s bodies were found.

WTOC also reached out to the Effingham County School District. The Superintendent says, “The school district is aware of the lawsuit and denies any allegations of wrongdoing with regard to these former students The School District acted appropriately and did not contribute to the senseless acts that resulted in their deaths.”

The lawsuit also includes an affidavit from one of Mary’s friends who says she personally witnessed the abuse in the Crocker home in 2014. At the time, they lived in Rincon.

She says the children’s father, Elwyn Crocker, would beat Mary and Elwyn Jr. with a belt and through a closed door, she could hear whippings and them screaming and crying.

Then, in 2016, Mary’s friend says police went to Mary and Elwyn Jr.’s home and shortly after, Elwyn Jr. told the friend he was moving to his “grandmother’s house” and the friend never saw him again after that.