Two young Florida boys are dead and police say the suspect who killed them was a family friend.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach announced Friday that Robert Baker, 12, and Tayten Baker, 14, were both found murdered Tuesday inside a common area of the family’s Melrose home, off of Shiloh Road.
Investigators found a hammer and a knife inside the residence. The sheriff confirmed both items were used as weapons during the attacks.
The children’s mother said she was asleep with a younger child when the incident happened and woke up to find her boys unresponsive. She called 911 immediately but the attack left both victims dead. The children’s grandfather, who lives nearby, said he attempted CPR while waiting for help to arrive.
Tampa Bay Times reports that the suspect, identified as 30-year-old Mark Wilson, Jr., had been living in a shed on the family’s property with his girlfriend.
The victims’ family, who knew Wilson, had recently moved to the area themselves to be closer to relatives. According to Fox 32, the children’s mother is the sister of Wilson’s girlfriend.
“They did a lot to help them and, unfortunately, it ended in the deaths of Robert and Tayten,” the sheriff said.
Although “significant” evidence has been found linking Wilson to the killings, the sheriff said they’re still working to determine the motive.
“Unfortunately, Robert and Tayten were the ones who suffered whatever was going through Wilson’s twisted agenda,” he added.
“As a parent, the murders of Robert and Tayten are an unimaginable loss to a family. I can’t begin to understand the anguish their parents are suffering.”
State Attorney RJ Larizza said the case is worthy of the death penalty, adding that the suspect attacked the boys “without mercy.”
“I can tell you, I’ve been working in the criminal justice system since 1980 and these are some of the most brutal murders that I’ve ever heard of,” Larizza said during a news conference Friday. “He attacked these two kids without mercy.”
Wilson has an extensive criminal history, including property crimes and drugs, but no known charges for violent crimes until now. He’s been charged with two counts of murder and remains behind bars without bail.
Wilson is scheduled for a first appearance hearing on Saturday.
Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Robert and Tayten Baker/Handout]