SPRINGFIELD, Ga. — Five relatives have pleaded not guilty in the deaths of teenage siblings found buried in their father’s yard in Georgia.

News outlets report the dead children’s father, 50-year-old Elwyn Crocker Sr., their stepmother and three others entered their pleas Wednesday during arraignments in Effingham County Superior Court.

Sheriff’s deputies acting on a tip discovered the bodies of Mary and Elwyn Crocker Jr. in December. Authorities say both were 14 when they died roughly two years apart. The children were homeschooled and never reported missing.

Effingham County sheriff’s investigator Abby Brown testified last month that Mary was beaten, starved and kept naked in a dog crate. A later indictment said Elwyn Jr. was a victim of similar abuse.

All five relatives are charged with felony murder, child cruelty and other crimes.

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Information from: Savannah Morning News, http://www.savannahnow.com

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