Father arrested after his children, 12 and 13, found beheaded in California
Maurice Taylor Sr, a personal trainer described as “mellow” and “reliable”, has ben arrested in connection with the deaths of his two children.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department was called to a home in Century Circle, Lancaster, California about 8am Friday (US time) after reports of a gas leak.
Firefighters discovered the bodies inside the home.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said homicide detectives were investigating the deaths of a 12-year-old African American boy and a 13-year-old African American girl.
Detectives said they were suffering from “lacerations and stab wounds”.
Lancaster Mayor R Rex Parris confirmed the victims had been beheaded.
“It was pretty brutal,” he said, according to the LA Times.
The LASD said Taylor, 34, had been arrested on suspicion of murder and was being held on $US2 million bail.
The children were found in separate bedrooms of the home, Lt. Brandon Dean said.
It was not immediately clear how long the children had been deceased for.
Two other children in the home were apparently uninjured but were taken to hospital as a precaution.
Clients of Taylor told the LA Times he was a diligent and hardworking personal trainer.
“Think of the nicest person that you know, then multiply that by five,” lawyer Howard Kern said.
“He worked so hard to support himself. Unfortunately, we don’t know enough to say what happened or what didn’t happen.”
A neighbour of the property said he had started noticing the home about two years ago.
The house “just looked strange”, the neighbour said, wishing to remain anonymous.
“I remember that house just seemed weird anytime I was there. It almost seemed like the windows were blacked out.”
Mayor Parris said he believed the economy, school closures and being stuck at home might 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,” he told the LA Times.
“What I’m seeing is more and more people feeling desperate, and that can only have one result.”