Maurice Taylor Sr., 34, was arrested on Friday after his son and daughter were found suffering from lacerations and stab wounds

By Eric Todisco
December 09, 2020 11:32 AM
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A 34-year-old personal trainer was charged on Tuesday with decapitating his 12-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter at their California home.

Maurice Taylor Sr., who works at a physical therapy center in Santa Monica, has been charged with two felony counts each of murder and child abuse under circumstances likely to cause great bodily harm, according to CBS Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Times.

Taylor's son, Maurice Taylor Jr., and daughter, Maliaka Taylor, were found decapitated in the family home in Lancaster on Friday morning, both outlets reported.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department's news release, the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to a report of a possible gas leak at Taylor's home on Friday morning after receiving a call from one of Taylor's clients, who previously told the Los Angeles Times she was worried after Taylor failed to send a Zoom link for a scheduled training session.

Fire personnel arrived at the home, located at the 45000 block of Century Circle, at around 7:50 a.m. and discovered the two children dead inside.

After being notified by fire officials, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Lancaster Station deputies responded to the scene.

According to the release, the son and daughter were found suffering from "lacerations and stab wounds." Later reports confirmed that the children were decapitated.

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Taylor was arrested on Friday on suspicion of murder, the LA Times reported. According to CBS Los Angeles, the suspect was ordered to be held in lieu of $4.2 million bail while awaiting his court hearing in Lancaster on Dec. 21.

If convicted, Taylor could face up to 57 years and four months to life in state prison.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department has not responded to PEOPLE's request for comment.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is being asked to contact the LA County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.