LA Personal Trainer Arrested in Gruesome Killings of His Son and Daughter, Police Say

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Maurice Taylor Sr., 34, is being held in lieu of $2 million bond, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the killings.

A personal trainer in California described by his clients as “nice” and “reliable” was arrested Friday in connection with the killings of his 12-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, who were found decapitated in their home, authorities said. Maurice Taylor Sr., 34, is being held in lieu of a $2 million bond, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the killings.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris, confirmed that both victims were decapitated.

“It was pretty brutal,” Parris told the Los Angeles Times.  

Two other children were removed from the house without any apparent injuries, Law & Crime reported.

The L.A. County Fire Department made the gruesome discovery after they responded to a call on the morning of Dec. 4 in Lancaster about a possible gas leak. Once inside, firefighters discovered the children’s bodies that were located in separate bedrooms at the house, the news outlet reported. 

“It doesn’t seem to be the cause of death from the two people inside have anything to do with a gas leak,” according to L.A. Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Brandon Dean, Law & Crime wrote. 

Dean said that both children appeared to have died due to “some type of a sharp trauma,” from “either a stabbing or slicing device.” 

Both parents were in the home when deputies responded. They were both detained without a struggle and brought in for questioning. The children’s mother was questioned but has not been arrested, according to Lt. Brandon Dean, the Times reported. 

It is unclear when the children were killed and how long their bodies had been in the house. However, a neighbor told Law & Crime that a putrid smell had been emanating from the home, and they recently heard screams from inside the residence.

Parris said that investigators were still gathering information on a motive, but told the Times that the economy, the closure of schools and public places, and tight living quarters can be stressful amid the pandemic.

”The social fabric of the country and the world has been shredded, and we are starting to see the aftermath.” Parris said. “What I’m seeing is more and more people feeling desperate, and that can only have one result.”