Parents Accused of 2020 Decapitation of Their Children, Ages 12 and 13, Plead Not Guilty

Natalie Sumiko Brothwell, 45, and Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr., 35, were both charged in December 2020 with felony murder after police discovered the decapitated bodes of their son, 12 year-old Maurice Taylor Jr., 12, and daughter, 13 year-old Maliaka Taylor, 13, at the family’s Lancaster home.

SANTA MONICA, CA – Two California parents who are accused of decapitating two of their children in 2020 – and subjecting two of their other children to abuse – have entered pleas of not guilty in response to murder and child abuse charges.

Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr., 35, and Natalie Sumiko Brothwell, 45, were both charged in December 2020 with felony murder after police discovered the decapitated bodes of their son, 12 year-old Maurice Taylor Jr., 12, and daughter, 13 year-old Maliaka Taylor, 13, at the family’s Lancaster home.

Brothwell and Taylor Sr. are also accused of locking the couple’s two other children – boys aged 8 and 9 – in their room for several days in a row while refusing to feed them at all, prosecutors say.

Taylor Sr. is alleged to have stabbed the two older children on Nov. 29, 2020, and then showed their headless corpses to the younger boys. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the bodies of the children were not discovered by authorities for five days.


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Taylor Sr., who worked at a physical therapy center in Santa Monica, had been working doing virtual training sessions online during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after he failed to make several scheduled sessions with clients they notified police, fearing something had happened to him. A subsequent wellness check led to the discovery of the children’s bodies.

Brothwell was later located and arrested in September 2021 at a residence in Tucson, Arizona.

If convicted of all charges, Taylor Sr. could receive a prison sentence of up to 57 years; it is not currently know if Brothwell could receive the same sentence. The two are each being held in jail on $4.2 million bail each, and are due back in court on February 15.


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