California Couple Accused of Decapitating Son and Daughter Plead Not Guilty to Criminal Charges

The couple pleaded not guilty to child abuse and murder charges on Wednesday in connection to the 2020 homicides

Natalie Brothwell, Maurice Taylor
Photo: Pima County Sheriff's Department; LAW AND CRIME TRIAL NETWORK

A California couple accused of decapitating their children pleaded not guilty to child abuse and murder charges on Wednesday.

According to Fox 11 Los Angeles, Lancaster, Calif., parents Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr., 35, and Natalie Sumiko Brothwell, 45, were charged in connection with the deaths of their 12-year-old son, Maurice Jr., and 13-year-old daughter, Maliaka.

The news outlet added that in December of 2020 Taylor Sr. was taken into custody and hit with two counts of murder involving the deaths.

He also received two felony counts of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death involving his two other sons, ages 8 and 9 at the time, added Fox 11 Los Angeles.

Brothwell, who faces the same counts as Taylor Sr., was arrested last September at her home in Tucson, Ariz.

Maliaka and Maurice Jr.

The older children were reportedly stabbed on Nov. 29, 2020, and not found by authorities until five days later, said Deputy Eric Ortiz of the LASD, per Fox 11 Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office confirmed the children were decapitated, added the news outlet.

It also reported per the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office that the younger children were shown the dead bodies of their older siblings and had to stay in their bedrooms with no food for days.

The Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Sheriff's Department did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.

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If convicted, Taylor Sr. faces a sentence of 57 years and four months to life behind bars. It is still unknown whether Brothwell will have the same sentence.

Taylor Sr. worked at a physical therapy center in Santa Monica, Calif., at the time the homicides took place. He was also working remotely during the pandemic.

Fox 11 Los Angeles reported some of his clients reached out to authorities after he couldn't be reached for appointments around the time of the murders.

"I remember that house just seemed weird anytime I was there," a neighbor told the Los Angeles Times in 2020.

"I never saw anybody come out of that house. It almost seemed like the windows were all blacked out."

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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