Bodies of two US kids found in garden of father, who worked as a supermarket Santa Claus

Elwyn Crocker (above), 49, worked as a Santa Claus in a local supermarket.
Elwyn Crocker (above), 49, worked as a Santa Claus in a local supermarket.PHOTO: EFFINGHAM COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Police in the southern United States have discovered the bodies of two teenagers buried in the garden of their father, who worked as a Santa Claus in a local supermarket.

Elwyn Crocker, 49, and three other family members were arrested and charged with "concealing the death of another and cruelty to children in the first degree," according to a statement by the Effingham County sheriff's office near Savannah, Georgia.

Forensic tests were being carried out on the two bodies, believed to be 14-year-old Mary Crocker and her brother Elwyn Crocker Jr, who would have been 16.

Police said further charges could be brought after the identities, as well as the manner and time of death, are confirmed.

Police had visited the Crocker household on Dec 20 after a neighbour reported that Mary had been missing for weeks and feared for the girl's safety.

The adults in the house said the girl had gone to live with her mother in South Carolina, but their stories did not match and police decided to search the premises.

They then discovered the two bodies. Mary had not been seen since October 2018 and her brother had been absent since November 2016 when he was 14, according to the police report.

Neither had officially been reported missing.

Local media reports said that the father, Elwyn Crocker, had recently been working as a Father Christmas in a Walmart supermarket.

He was charged along with his wife Candice Crocker, 33, the stepmother of the missing children, and his mother-in-law Kim Wright, 50, as well as her boyfriend, Anthony Prater, 55.