Prosecutors allege a father of four decapitated his oldest son and daughter and then forced his two younger sons, ages 8 and 9, to look at the bodies of their siblings for several days.
Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr., a 34-year-old resident of Lancaster, California, is charged with two counts of murder and two counts of child abuse, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced Wednesday.
Prosecutors allege Taylor killed his two eldest children on Nov. 29, fatally stabbing 13-year-old Maliaka and 12-year-old Maurice Jr. For days, prosecutors allege, Taylor kept their bodies in separate rooms of the house and forced the two younger children to look at them.
The two boys were also forced to stay inside their bedrooms without food, prosecutors allege.
Officials made the grisly discovery of the dead children Friday morning after firefighters were called to the home about a possible gas leak, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The two dead siblings appeared to have “lacerations and stab wounds,” the department said.
Authorities had been called to the house by clients of Taylor’s, the Los Angeles Times reported. Taylor worked as a personal trainer.
The clients were supposed to take Zoom classes with him but contacted authorities when they were unable to reach him. The children’s mother was found inside the home but was not considered a suspect, Lt. Brandon Dean of the Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau told the Times.
Taylor remains in custody in lieu of a $4.2 million bond.