Maurice Taylor Sr., a father and personal trainer, was arrested on Friday after his two children were found decapitated at the family home in Lancaster, California. The two kids, a 13-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy, were discovered on Friday morning after the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to the home over reports of a gas leak, a press release from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department stated.
The mayor of Lancaster, a city in northern Los Angeles County, said that both children had been decapitated. “It was pretty brutal,” Mayor R. Rex Parris said, according to the Los Angeles Times. The outlet reported that the two victims were found in separate bedrooms, and it wasn’t immediately clear how long they’d been dead.
Taylor, 34, was arrested on suspicion of the murder of both children and is being held on $2 million bail, the LASD stated.
The Children’s Mother & 2 Other Kids Were at the Home When Deputies Responded to the Call
The two victims were discovered by fire personnel at the location on the 45000 block of Century Circle on Friday, December 4, at approximately 7:50 a.m. The call was about a gas leak, according to the LASD’s press release.
When fire personnel entered the home, they found the two bodies and contacted the LASD. The detectives who responded to the location found that both the boy and the girl “appeared to be suffering from lacerations and stab wounds,” the LASD press release said. Both children’s parents were in the home at the time along with two other children, the Times reported. Both adults were questioned, but the children’s mother has not been arrested at this time.
The two other children in the home seemed uninjured, LASD’s Lieutenant Brandon Dean told the Times, but they were brought to the hospital as a precaution. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services is involved and will be helping to place the two children, whose ages have not been publicly revealed. Dean told the outlet that he didn’t believe DCFS had been involved with the family in the past.
The press release indicated that the investigation is still ongoing.
Taylor’s Clients From a Fitness Center Were the Ones Who Called in the Gas Leak Out of Concern for the Family, They Said
Taylor worked as a personal trainer for a physical therapy and fitness center, the Times reported, but he had been working remotely due to the pandemic. His clients spoke about being concerned when the usually “reliable” trainer was not reachable and missed sessions this week, according to the outlet.
One of Taylor’s longtime clients, Howard Kern, said he called the Los Angeles County Fire Department at 7:34 a.m. on Friday morning after he and other clients voiced their concerns to each other about Taylor’s absence. “I said, ‘I’m concerned,'” Kern told the outlet. “‘We are concerned about a possible gas leak. There are four children and two adults — and we are concerned about their safety.'”
Another client, who described Taylor as “so reliable, so responsive [and] mellow,” said he had missed a scheduled Zoom session this week and no one was able to reach him. “I knew they weren’t out of town. They didn’t have money to travel,” the client, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
Kern described Taylor as hardworking and dedicated to all of his clients: “Think of the nicest person that you know, then multiply that by five. He worked so hard to support himself. Unfortunately, we don’t know enough to say what happened or what didn’t happen.”