SPRINGFIELD, Ga. (WSAV) – The Effingham County School District (ECSD) now faces a multi-million dollar lawsuit by the estate of Mary Crocker, a teen found buried along with her brother at their Guyton-area home in 2018 during a welfare check.
First reported by the Savannah Morning News, the lawsuit claims abuse of Mary’s brother Elwyn Jr. was reported to an Effingham County school counselor in 2017. However, the suit says the school counselor failed to notify local law enforcement about the report.
It also names the principal and superintendent who were allegedly negligent in their responsibility to ensure the report was provided to the proper authorities.
“The failure to send off the required written report by ECSD to the Sheriff’s Department would have saved Mary Crocker’s life,” the suit says.
The lawsuit also claims CM Regent Insurance Company, the school district’s insurer, “wilfully disobeyed the laws of Georgia and acted in bad faith in regard to its duties to Plaintiff.”
Attorneys for ECSD filed a response to the lawsuit in early August saying the district doesn’t hold responsibility and that administrators were not made aware of the situation.
Prosecutors have claimed Mary had been starved, tased, kept naked in a dog cage and sexually assaulted. It’s believed her brother, Elwyn Jr., may have been buried in the yard for up to two years before his body was discovered.
A third child, Mary’s and Elwyn Jr.’s half-brother who has cerebral palsy, was found alive in the home.
The lawsuit, filed by Amanda Oliveira, the court-appointed administrator of Mary’s estate, requests over $3 million from ECSD to compensate for the mental and physical pain and suffering she experienced, and the full value of her life.
If awarded, that money would go to Mary’s half-brother who is currently in the foster care system.
The children’s father, Elwyn Crocker Sr., faces over a dozen charges in the case, including malice and felony murder. If convicted, the state is seeking the death penalty.
Four others have been charged in the case, including Crocker Sr.’s mother-in-law, Kimberly Wright; her son, Mark Wright; her boyfriend, Roy Prater; and the children’s stepmother, Candice Crocker.
Prater, who isn’t facing the death penalty, quickly took a plea in 2020. Candice Crocker pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty.
She was sentenced to life in prison without parole and must testify against Crocker Sr., her mother and her brother.
WARNING: Details included in the lawsuit are disturbing.