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Man accused of killing teacher blamed her for losing care of kids

A man arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing the grandmother of his three children as she worked as a teacher monitoring children in a Long Beach park referred to her as an "informant" in a custody dispute.

Long Beach police have yet to explain a motive in the slaying of Kellye Taylor. But her alleged assailant, Steven Brown, seems to blame her for his children being removed from his care and into hers, according to a federal lawsuit. The mother of his children is Taylor's daughter.

Taylor was stabbed to death Friday as she sat in Orizaba Park, keeping an eye on students from a private elementary school her family operates.

Police said Brown sneaked up on her and stabbed her in the upper body with a sharp weapon and then fled before being captured by police a few blocks away.

Taylor, who was bleeding heavily, was taken to a Long Beach hospital, where she died of her wound.

Long Beach Lt. Lloyd Cox, who supervises homicide detectives, said they were aware Taylor had custody of Brown's children, he said.

"He didn’t talk to detectives,” Cox said of Brown. "You think of the kids … but that doesn't mean something didn't happen recently."

Taylor, 53, gained custody of Brown and Tia Taylor’s three children -- Broccoli, 7, Brandon, 9, and Bryant, 10 -- along with Tia Taylor’s other two children, Kellen, 17, and Britainie, 2, on March 20, court records show.

Tia Taylor was arrested for allegedly assaulting Brown at the Lakewood Mall on March 14, and Brown was arrested a day later for violating a protective order.

Brown sued the Long Beach Police Department and the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services in July, claiming they violated his constitutional rights.

In a federal lawsuit, Brown describes “minors' maternal grandmother Kellye L. Taylor as an informant against plaintiff and plaintiff’s family.”

He alleges a social worker acted in concert with Kellye Taylor from June 2011 to May 2013, “assuring maternal grandmother she would place the children with her as soon as they could have reason to do so.”

The lawsuit includes documents showing a history of abuse and neglect of the children.

After Tia Taylor was arrested March 14, the children were left with Brown, who was the subject of a protective order forbidding him from being near the children until 2014.

Brown was arrested March 15 for violating the order, police records show, although Brown claimed in court papers that the order had been rescinded.

In July 2011, a judge had issued the protective order against Brown to stay away from his three children and Taylor’s 16-year-old son. Brown struck the son in the face with his fists, swelling and bruising the teen's eye. Brown was convicted that month of child cruelty, according to court records.

Earlier this year, social workers wrote in a report that the other children were living in “a filthy and unsanitary home.” They reported receiving a call in January that Brown was “hitting and hurting the mother” and broke the cellphone when she tried to call police.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

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