Friday, December 4 the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department sent out an alert concerning a homicide investigation that was sparked after Los Angeles County Fire personnel responded to a potential gas leak call at a Lancaster residence.
When fire personnel responded to the residence, they found bodies of two teenagers, later identified as 13-year-old Maliaka and 12-year-old Maurice Jr., "suffering from lacerations and stab wounds."
It was later confirmed that the two children had been decapitated.
Also in the residence where two other children, ages 8 and 9, who had been "forced to stay in their bedrooms for several days without food."
The suspect, 34-year-old Maurice Jewel Taylor is alleged to have decapitated his two elder children on Sunday, November 29. During the intervening five days before the bodies were discovered, Taylor is accused of showing the bodies to his surviving children.
Described as "mellow" and "so reliable, so responsive," Taylor worked as a personal trailer at a physical therapy center in Santa Monica. Due to Covid lockdowns, he was working remotely, conducting training sessions over Zoom.
Some of his clients became concerned when he missed scheduled appointments and stopped responding to messages.
The mother was present at the home and interviewed by investigators. They have stated that she is not considered a suspect.
Taylor was arrested and charged with two counts of murder and two counts of child abuse under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death. His bail was initially set at $2 million, but was increased Tuesday, December 8 to $4.2 million.
He remains in custody at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles. Jail records indicate that he has a scheduled court date for tomorrow morning at 8:30. His arraignment on the murder and child abuse charges though, has been rescheduled for December 21 after he failed to make an appearance on December 9.
If convicted on all charges he could face a sentence of 57 years to life in prison.