A Florida mother awoke to a nightmare last week when she found her two teenage sons had been brutally and fatally attacked in their home, allegedly by someone the family was trying to help.
Mark Wilson, Jr. was arrested on Thursday evening for the murders of 12-year-old Robert Baker and 14-year-old Tayten Baker, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office announced last week. The boys’ mother woke up on Wednesday morning and found that Robert and Tayten had suffered traumatic injuries in the family’s Melrose home; when authorities and first responders arrived on the scene, the two boys were already dead, the office said in a separate release.
Wilson was the boyfriend of the boys’ aunt; the couple was living in a shed on the family’s property because the Baker family was trying to save them from living on the streets, according to the sheriff’s office.
Wilson is suspected of killing the boys with a hammer and a knife, both of which were recovered from the scene. The boys’ mother and their younger sibling were also home at the time of the attack, but were not injured. The father is a truck driver and was away when his sons were killed, authorities confirmed.
Wilson, 30, is facing two counts of first-degree premeditated murder, authorities said during a press conference Friday. His criminal history does not involve violence, but prior convictions include possession of controlled substances, burglary of a structure, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and dealing in stolen property, authorities said.
While a motive is unclear, Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach believes drugs played a role, PEOPLE reports.
“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 said.
Authorities said that the boys’ mother slept through the attack and was in a part of the house where she wouldn’t have heard what was happening, according to PEOPLE.
During Friday’s press conference, 7th Judicial Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza said that the crime was disturbing not only to investigators and officials, but to the community.
“I’ve been in the criminal justice system working since 1980, and these are some of the most brutal murders I have ever heard of,” Larizza said. “I can tell you, the defendant, he attacked these kids without mercy.”
The investigation is ongoing, authorities have said. DeLoach said Friday that he would like prosecutors to pursue the death penalty in the case, but that has not been decided yet.
“We are grieving with the family and while I know there is no closure for them in their loss, we intend to bring justice for Robert and Tayten,” DeLoach said.
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