Two California children who lost their lives last week have been officially identified, as their fitness trainer father faces charges of murder and child abuse.
Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr., 34, was charged in court on Tuesday with two counts of murder, according to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. He is accused of killing his two oldest children, identified by the L.A. County Coroner’s Office as Maurice Taylor Jr., 12, and Malaka Taylor, 13.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, L.A. County Fire Department arrived at a home off of Century Circle a little before 8 a.m. on December 4 in Lancaster, after several of Maurice Taylor Sr.’s clients called about a possible gas leak at the residence. Once inside, they found the deceased bodies of the two children.
The Mayor of Lancaster, R. Rex Perris, said both of the children were decapitated, according to CBS 2.
“It was pretty brutal,” Perris said.
According to Lt. Brandon Dean, the children’s bodies were in separate bedrooms. Two other children, ages 8 and 9, were in the home but appeared uninjured. They were taken to an area hospital for a medical evaluation. Authorities are charging Taylor Sr. with child abuse in connection with the younger children.
The children’s mother was also in the home. Authorities took her in for questioning but she has not been charged.
Taylor Sr. is a personal fitness trainer at a Santa Monica physical therapy and fitness center. He’d been holding sessions via Zoom due to the pandemic. Several of his clients became worried after not hearing from him, which was uncharacteristic of him, and contacted authorities and asked them to check if there was a gas leak in Taylor’s home.
When deputies arrived at the home, they didn’t find a gas leak but ended up locating the two deceased children.
Attorney Howard Kern, who was one of Taylor’s clients, said called police after becoming concerned something may have happened inside Taylor’s home, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Ken added that Taylor had been “living under a tremendous amount of pressure” and had a troublesome marriage; his wife reportedly made calls to him at work, yelling at him.
“It was embarrassing — you could hear her yelling at him,” Kern said. “He’d be very apologetic and she’d be yelling at him.”
Another client, who said Taylor had been working from home due to the pandemic, called him a “mellow and reliable,” while another client said she feared something was wrong when Taylor failed to show up for scheduled Zoom meetings.
“We were afraid of carbon monoxide poisoning, or they were all dead from falling asleep,” the woman said.
Meanwhile, neighbors described Taylor’s home as “strange.” A homeowner that lives near the Taylor residence said he was surprised to hear that four children lived in the home, adding that he only saw two children in the years that the Taylor family lived there.
”I remember that house just seemed weird anytime I was there,” the neighbor said. “I never saw anybody come out of that house. It almost seemed like the windows were all blacked out.”
Taylor is scheduled for arraignment on December 21. He remains behind bars on $4.2 million bail.
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[Feature Photo: Pixabay]