A personal trainer classified as “soft” and “trustworthy” was arrested on Friday in connection with the deaths of two adolescent children who were beheaded in a family home in Lancaster, authorities said.
Los Angeles sheriff’s investigating crime said Maurice Taylor, 34, is in custody instead of a $ 2 million bond.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department was called home to the Century Circle 45000 block in Lancaster before 8 a.m. Friday morning, 8 p.m. When firefighters entered, the bodies were discovered, and the sheriff’s ministry described in a statement that the couple had “tears and stab wounds.”
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris confirmed that both victims had been beheaded.
“It was pretty brutal,” he said.
Deputies found the children’s bodies in a separate bedroom at home, Lieutenant Brandon Dean said. Sheriff officials identified the two children as 12-year-old boys and 13-year-old girls. It’s not clear how long they died, ”Dean said.
Both parents were at home when MPs responded Friday morning; they were detained without a fight and brought in for questioning. The children’s mothers were interrogated but not arrested, Dean said.
The other two children at home did not appear to be injured, but were transported to the hospital as a precaution, and the sheriff’s department is working with the Los Angeles County Children and Family Service to place them, Dean said. To the best of his knowledge, none of the children had been in contact with DCFS before, and no representative had recently been invited to the home due to complaints about their well-being.
DCFS did not disclose whether he had a prior relationship with the family. “We mourn this tragic loss with the community,” the agency said in a statement.
The Fire Department originally responded to the home after a possible gas leak was reported, but sheriff officials confirmed there were no leaks. The concern about the gas leak was Taylor and came from her current clients, with whom she worked at a physiotherapy and fitness center in Santa Monica. They struggled all week to get in touch with him.
Attorney and writer Howard Kern, who saw Taylor at the meetings for about seven years, said he called the Los Angeles County Fire Department on Friday morning at 7:34 a.m. after others Taylor trained tried to call the sheriff’s department to pass on their concerns.
“I said, ‘I’m worried,'” Kern recalled.
Another client, who spoke anonymously, said Taylor worked remotely because of the epidemic. The client described it as “so reliable, so sensitive” and “soft”.
The client said he knew something was wrong earlier this week when Taylor didn’t send a Zoom link to a scheduled session and then didn’t show up at the appointed time. The girl was unavailable, she said, and she and other clients sent each other a message, thinking that something was wrong.
“I knew they weren’t out of town. They didn’t have the money to travel,” he said.
The client said he called the sheriff’s department on Tuesday and said they had also contacted the asset management company that operated at Taylor’s residence.
“We were afraid of carbon monoxide poisoning or we all died from falling asleep,” he said.
Several clients told The Times that Taylor was a diligent and diligent coach who worked patiently with each client.
“Think of the nicest person you know, and then multiply that by five,” Kern said. “He worked so hard to support himself. Unfortunately, we don’t know enough to tell you what happened or what didn’t happen.”
Kern said Taylor had been working and living alone since he was 18, and he felt Taylor was “living under tremendous pressure.”
Over the years, Kern said he knew Taylor was facing challenges, including a marriage that might seem “controversial” from phone calls she received from Taylor’s wife at the gym. “It was embarrassing,” you could hear him shouting at him, “Kern said. “She would apologize very much and she would shout at him.”
In Lancaster, the early reports of the two dead children were staggering, and a nearby property owner reviewed what he had spotted at Taylor’s home over the years.
The property owner said he began noticing the home where the two bodies were found about two years ago. The property owner, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of being involved in the case, said when he visited his property, the house “just looked weird”.
Other neighbors sometimes spend time outside or greet each other. This family listened eerily, he said.
“I remember this house looked weird anytime I was there,” he said. “I’ve never seen anyone come out of that house.” The windows almost looked dark.
The property owner said he knows about a couple and two small children who lived there but never saw them. He was surprised to learn that two other children might have lived there.
Parris, the mayor, said he would continue to gather information about the incident, but said the closure of the economy, schools and public premises, and the cramped living space in homes amid the pandemic, had created a stressful environment.
“The social fabric of the country and the world has been shredded and we are starting to see the aftermath,” Parris said. “From what I see, more and more people are feeling their despair, and that can only be one result.”
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.