Maurice Taylor Sr. Lancaster California father arrested on suspicion of decapitating his daughter, 13, & son, 12, as the bodies of two children are found at the family home.
Los Angeles County firefighters responded to a home in Lancaster before 8 a.m. on a report of what a neighbor believed to be a possible gas leak only to find the headless bodies of a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Police arrested the father, black man, Maurice Taylor Sr., on suspicion of killing his children. He’s being held on a $2 million bond.
An adult female – thought to be the victims’ mother – and two other children were also present in the home at the time. They appeared to be unharmed and were being questioned by officers.
Taylor was described as a ‘mellow’ personal trainer who virtually taught his clients from home because of the pandemic.
‘Is there something I could have done?
One of Taylor’s clients told the latimes she knew something was wrong when he failed to send a Zoom link for a scheduled session.
‘I knew they weren’t out of town,’ the client said. ‘They didn’t have money to travel.’
A neighbor said a stench had been coming from the home for days, and he remembers recently hearing screams coming from the residence.
‘It’s been going through my head,’ the man said according to ktla. ‘Is there something I could have done? Should I maybe have reported it earlier?’
Authorities have yet to establish when the two victims died.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris believes the economy, school closures and being stuck at home amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic may have created a stressful environment for the family.
‘The social fabric of the country and the world has been shredded, and we are starting to see the aftermath,’ Parris told the Times.
Dysfunctional family household
‘What I’m seeing is more and more people feeling desperate, and that can only have one result.’
LASD said it is working with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services to place the two surviving children.
It is not clear whether the DCFS had any prior contact with the family before Friday’s events.
A property owner in the area told the Times he thought only two children lived in the home.
He said the home environment ‘looked strange’ with the family keeping themselves to themselves and the windows were often ‘blacked out’ in a neighborhood where most others would stop and chat outside.
Anyone with information can call the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-222-TIPS (8477).