A Georgia man employed by Walmart to portray Santa Claus was arrested after police found the bodies of his two kids buried in his backyard.
Elwyn Crocker Sr., 50, of Guyton, was arrested Dec. 21, accused of concealing the death of another person and cruelty to children in the first degree.
His 33-year-old wife, Candice Crocker; his 50-year-old mother-in-law; and that woman’s 55-year-old boyfriend have also been arrested for the same charges.
The arrests were made after Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies received a tip that Crocker’s daughter, Mary Crocker, was missing and they went to search the home, according to USA Today.
The girl had reportedly been missing for weeks, according to a Facebook post by the department. Her brother, Elwyn Crocker Jr., went missing in November 2016, when he was 14. No missing person report was filed for either child.
The bodies of both children were found “just inside the wood line,” a few feet from each other, police told USA Today. The day they were found, Dec. 20, would have been Mary Crocker’s 14th birthday, according to NBC News.
More tests are needed to determine the cause and manner of death, including toxicology reports, Effingham County Coroner David Exley told the media.
“I’ve been doing this 41 years and … I almost broke down in tears,” Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said at a news conference. “It’s that bad. I cannot understand how you do children like this. It’s horrible.”
A third child was found alive in the home and was taken to the hospital for observation, NBC News reported.
A man who lived near the suspects told WSAV TV that he has a clear line of sight to their home and said that after Mary Crocker was last seen in public, he saw Elwyn Crocker Sr. using a shovel numerous times in the area where the kids’ bodies were found.
During the holiday season, Elwyn Crocker Sr. worked as Santa at the Walmart in Rincon, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Walmart spokeswoman Tara Aston released this statement to USA Today:
We’re devastated at this news. After reviewing the circumstances, we terminated Mr. Crocker. We are shocked at what has been reported and will do whatever we can to assist law enforcement.
HuffPost reached out to the Effingham County Jail to see if the suspects are still behind bars, but calls were not immediately returned.