Mother of decapitated children is charged with murder in Lancaster slayings

Natalie Brothwell
Natalie Brothwell, 44, was arrested in connection with the decapitation deaths of two of her children, ages 12 and 13.
(Pima County Sheriff’s Department)

A mother has been charged with murder in the deaths of two of her children, whose bodies were found decapitated inside the family’s Lancaster home late last year, authorities said.

Prosecutors on Monday filed two counts of murder and two counts of felony child endangerment against Natalie Brothwell, 44, in connection with the deaths of her 12-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter. She was arrested at her home in Tucson the following day.

Her arrest is the second tied to the gruesome deaths of 12-year-old Maurice Taylor Jr. and 13-year-old Maliaka Taylor, whose decapitated bodies were found Dec. 4. Authorities say the children had been killed on Nov. 29 and their bodies left on display inside the family home.


Authorities allege a Lancaster father decapitated his 12-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, then kept the bodies in the house for five days while his two younger sons were held in their rooms without food.

Dec. 9, 2020

The children’s father, Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr., was charged in December with two counts each of murder and child abuse. Prosecutors say he showed the dead bodies to his two surviving children, ages 8 and 9, who were kept in their rooms without food. Taylor remains in custody after a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that he must have a mental competency hearing before the case can move forward.

The children’s mother was in the house when the bodies were found and was questioned by investigators at the time.

Brothwell is being held in the Pima County, Ariz., jail pending extradition to California, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. It was not immediately clear when she moved out of state. She is being held in lieu of $1-million bail.

Times staff writers Richard Winton and Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.