Who is Maurice Taylor Sr? California personal trainer who beheaded daughter, 13, and son, 12, dubbed 'nicest man'
Maurice Taylor Sr, a 34-year-old dad, was arrested on suspicion of the murder of his two teenage children after police responded to his clients' reports about a possible gas leak at the home
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: A personal trainer allegedly decapitated his daughter, 13, and son, 12, whose bodies were found inside the family home in Lancaster on Friday, December 4, morning by police. An adult woman - presumed to be the suspect's wife and the mother of the victims - and two other children were found inside the home as well alive and well.
Maurice Taylor Sr, a 34-year-old dad, was arrested on suspicion of the murder of his two teenage children after police responded to his clients' reports about a possible gas leak at the home, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. His wife and surviving children were questioned by the authorities.
It was not known when the alleged murders were carried out. Taylor's personal training clients, who described him as "mellow" and "reliable," told the Los Angeles Times that the suspect failed to show up for fitness sessions he had been running over Zoom, and as a result, they contacted authorities as far back as Tuesday, December 1. One of them reported a possible gas leak in the house causing the LA fire department to enter the home and find the bodies of Taylor's children in separate bedrooms with lacerations and stab wounds.
Lancaster Mayor R Rex Parris said both victims had been decapitated and described the scene as "brutal". He added that he believed the fallout from the pandemic had created a stressful environment. "What I'm seeing is more and more people feeling desperate, and that can only have one result," he said, according to the Times. The names of the children have not been released by police as they involve a 12-year-old male and a 13-year-old female.
"LA County Sheriff's deputies responded out to the location and saw that there were two individuals inside, both very young, possibly in their teenage years, deceased," a lieutenant told reporters at the scene Friday morning. "One appears to be a male, one appears to be a female, possibly suffering from some type of a sharp trauma, either stabbing or slicing device." He added that there was no sign of a gas leak at the property. "It doesn't seem to be that the cause of death from the two people inside have anything to do with a gas leak," he said.
Taylor was a personal trainer at a Santa Monica physical therapy and fitness center but was holding sessions over Zoom due to the pandemic. Howard Kern, an attorney and writer who has taken personal training sessions with Taylor for about seven years, called the fire department at 7.34 am on Friday morning after getting concerned for his trainer's wellbeing. "I said, 'I'm concerned'. We are concerned about a possible gas leak. There are four children and two adults - and we are concerned about their safety," he told the outlet.
Kern told the Times he worried that Taylor "was living under a tremendous amount of pressure" being in a marriage Kern described as "contentious" and having lived and worked on his own since he was 18. He added that Taylor could often be heard on the phone talking to his wife at the gym and hear "her yelling at him. He'd be very apologetic and she'd be yelling at him," said Kern. The suspect was described by Kern as the "nicest person that you know, then multiply that by five. He worked so hard to support himself. Unfortunately, we don't know enough to say what happened or what didn't happen".
LASD said it is working with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services to place the two surviving children. Taylor was arrested without a struggle and booked into Lancaster station where he is being held on $2 million bond.