Their two younger children lived in the house with their dead siblings for five days.
The mother of two children found decapitated in California has been charged with their murder — almost one year after their father was.
Natalie Brothwell, 44, was arrested at her home in Tucson Arizona on Tuesday, a day after prosecutors filed charges against her, and ten months after her 13-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son were found murdered.
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On the morning of December 4, Los Angeles County Fire responded to reports of a possible gas leak and entered a home in Lancaster, where they found the two dead children. While police initially reported they had suffered from lacerations and stab wounds, the horrific extent of their injuries emerged later.
Also at the house were the two parents, along with two other younger children, aged 8 and 9.
The father, 35-year-old Maurice Taylor Sr, was arrested at the scene and charged with the double homicide; he remains in custody, on $2million bail. But the mother was never charged at the time.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Taylor had stabbed his two children to death on November 29, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and had kept the bodies in the house for the next five days, forcing his two younger sons to look at their deceased siblings. The younger children were also forced to stay in their rooms for several days without food, prosecutors allege, per KTLA.
On Monday, almost 10 months to the day after the killings, Los Angeles County District Attorney issued a warrant to arrest and charge Brothwell with two counts of murder and two counts of felony child endangerment. They did not say what spurred the delayed arrest.
She was taken into custody the following day and booked into Pima County Jail, pending extradition back to California.
At the time of her husband’s arrest, the Sheriff’s Department confirmed there was no gas leak.
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According to the LA Times, the alarm had been raised by Taylor’s colleagues and clients at the Santa Monica physical therapy and fitness center, where he worked remotely.
When he didn’t send a Zoom link as scheduled, they tried to contact him, but couldn’t. They became concerned the family might have been poisoned by a carbon monoxide leak, and contacted the authorities.
“I said, ‘I’m concerned,'” one of his clients of seven years, Howard Kern, told the publication at the time. “We are concerned about a possible gas leak. There are four children and two adults — and we are concerned about their safety.'”
Other clients described Taylor as “so reliable, so responsive” and “mellow”, while Kern summarized: “Think of 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.”
Kern said that while training under Taylor in person before the pandemic, there were signs the marriage was “contentious” and that Taylor “was living under a tremendous amount of pressure,” and that he would angry phone calls from his wife while at the gym.
“It was embarrassing — you could hear her yelling at him,” Kern recalled. “He’d be very apologetic and she’d be yelling at him.”
At the time of Taylor’s arrest, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Brandon Dean told the Times they were working with the Department of Children and Family Services to place the two younger children.
He said that to his knowledge, none of the children had ever been involved with the DCFS, and there had never been any welfare complains against the family.
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