A 35-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman are accused of murdering and decapitating two of their children and keeping their bodies to show their siblings. Natalie Brothwell and Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr. pleaded not guilty in court this week to the deaths of their 12-year-old son Maurice and 13-year-old daughter Maliaka, though it seems unlikely a jury will believe their version of events.
- Authorities first visited the house for an unrelated reason. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that they originally visited Taylor’s home on December 4, 2020 due to a possible gas leak. However, when fire officials entered the residence, they found the two dead children and called in more officers to investigate. The children “appeared to be suffering from lacerations and stab wounds,” they said.
- Taylor was arrested first. According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the father was taken into custody 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. Brothwell was arrested in September 2021 and also faces two murder charges as well as two counts of felony child endangerment.
- It’s believed that Taylor stabbed the children. Police believe that once Maliaka and Maurice died, Taylor then forced his 8- and 9-year-old sons to “stay in their bedrooms for several days without foods” and forced them to look at the bodies, perhaps in warning of what might happen to them. It’s believed that the children died on November 29, five days before they were discovered by police.
- Brothwell and Taylor are being held on $4.2 million bail. While they’ve made their initial not guilty plea, their next court date is scheduled for February 15. If ultimately found guilty, they could spend life behind bars.