LANCASTER, Calif. (TCD) -- A 35-year-old man and 45-year-old woman pleaded not guilty in court this week to killing and decapitating their 12-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter.
The father, Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr., was arrested in December 2020 and charged with two counts of murder and child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or harm, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The statement alleges Taylor stabbed his children Maliaka and Maurice, then forced his two other sons, ages 8 and 9, to "stay in their bedrooms for several days without food." He also allegedly showed the younger siblings the dead bodies.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in an initial statement that Los Angeles County Fire Personnel responded to Taylor’s home on the 45000 block of Century Circle on Dec. 4, 2020, because of a possible gas leak. When fire officials went into the residence, they reportedly found the two deceased children and called the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lancaster Station to investigate. The statement said the victims "appeared to be suffering from lacerations and stab wounds."
Natalie Brothwell, the children’s mother, was taken into custody in Arizona on Sept. 28, 2021, the Sheriff’s Department said. She, too, faces two counts of murder and two counts of felony child endangerment.
The District Attorney’s statement says the children died Nov. 29, 2020.