Two Florida boys were found stabbed and bludgeoned to death Wednesday morning. Their mother found them dead — and their aunt’s boyfriend has been arrested in the double slaying.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said 30-year-old Mark Wilson Jr. allegedly used a hammer and a knife to kill the two boys, Robert Baker, 12, and 14-year-old Tayten Baker, in their Melrose home.
Wilson has been charged with two counts of first-degree premeditated murder.
The motive for the slayings is unclear but Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach says Wilson had allegedly been on a methamphetamine binge prior to the boy’s death.
“It is our understanding from some of our interviews with some of the individuals associated with the case that the suspect Mark Wilson was under the influence of methamphetamine and had been for several days, and we think that may have been a contributing factor to this heinous, just rageful crime,” DeLoach tells PEOPLE.
The boys' family had recently moved into the Melrose home after relocating from Polk County 16 days earlier. Wilson and the boys' aunt had moved into the backyard shed soon after that.
“Out of the kindness of their heart, they took these two in and this was the end result of it, unfortunately,” says DeLoach.
DeLoach says the murders occurred in the early morning hours of Wednesday after the kids' father, a long haul trucker, had left to drive to Georgia.
The boys, he says, were found in different rooms. One of the boys was found in the family game room.
“The other victim was found in a room not too far from there,” says DeLoach. “We believe at least one of the boys was sleeping whenever the murder occurred.”
The boys’ mother and their four-year-old brother were asleep in another room when the killings occurred.
“Based on where she was and where the crime occurred, it is our belief there was no way she could have heard all the commotion from where she was,” he says.
Both weapons were found during a search of the home, DeLoach says.
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Investigators are still trying to work through some of the details of the crime.
“Even though we have made an arrest, the case is still very much in its infancy,” DeLoach says. “The case is very complex. There is voluminous amounts of information we are trying to sort through to paint the whole picture and give us a good understanding of what happened.”
Wilson was taken into custody on Thursday evening.
“In any homicide case we never rule anyone out as a suspect but after just a very short period of time it became immediately apparent to us that this uncle was … a person of interest and then as the case unfolded, there was more evidence that pointed to him,” says DeLoach.
DeLoach is shocked by the brutality of the crimes.
“What kind of sick twisted agenda he would have had, to brutally murder two innocent children who had their entire lives ahead of them,” he says. “As a parent myself … I can’t even begin to fathom the anguish and the grief they are suffering from at the moment.”
Wilson is expected to make his first appearance on Saturday.
He has yet to enter a plea.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the tip line at 386-329-0840. Tips are anonymous.
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