Arrest made in killing of two Putnam County children

MELROSE, Fla. — Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a man accused of murdering two children in the community of Melrose. Late Thursday evening, deputies arrested Mark Wilson, Jr. of Melrose for the killing of Robert Baker, 12, and Tayten Baker, 14.

Wednesday morning the mother of the children awoke to find them in a common area inside their Shiloh Road home in Melrose with traumatic injuries. The mother and a younger sibling were uninjured. When deputies and rescue units responded to the home, the brothers were already deceased. Investigators have not released a manner of death in the killings.

Wilson is well-known to the family and there was no immediate threat to the community. Wilson was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He was taken to the Putnam County Jail and awaiting first appearance.

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Family members have identified the two boys killed in a double homicide in Melrose on Wednesday morning as Tayten Baker, 14, and Robert Baker, 12. The incident happened on the 120 blocks of Shiloh Road.

Posted by Action News Jax on Thursday, August 27, 2020

On Thursday, Action News Jax Reporter Ryan Nelson spoke to the boys’ grandfather in an interview. He asked not to be identified.

He tells us the boys’ mother is his daughter. He recounted the events of Wednesday morning. “They were very horrific events, you know, I woke up to my daughter frantic,” he said.

He says he went inside the house on Shiloh. “I ripped the screen door open and I just screamed, ‘no,’ after I seen my grandson Robert, and my grandson Tayten was by the pool table, laying there,” he said. “And they were both deceased.”

Family members went on to say the boys’ father is a truck driver and was not home at the time, and investigators with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Thursday.

Putnam Deputies and FDLE investigated the crime scene at the family’s home for a second consecutive day on Thursday.

Family tells Action News Jax the boys and their parents moved into the home on Shiloh Road from Lakeland in recent weeks to be closer to relatives.

Deputies say the boys’ mother and father are fully cooperating with detectives and are not considered persons of interest.

On Wednesday, deputies called the deaths suspicious, and an isolated incident with no threat to the community. Deputies maintained Thursday the incident is considered to be isolated.

Deputies are asking anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in the area before 10:30 on Wednesday morning to contact their tip line at 386-329-0840.‘Sick monster’ is the way Putnam Sheriff Gator DeLoach referred to the man accused of killing Robert and Tayten Baker, in a Facebook post, Friday.

Action News Jax was there as suspect Mark Wilson was escorted into the Putnam County jail hours after deputies say he was arrested in Interlachen.

He said, “As a father of three children of my own, I just can’t imagine the anguish that this poor family is going through.”

According to investigators, the 12 and 14-year-olds were discovered dead by their mother inside Melrose home, Wednesday morning.

Deputies said, Wilson, who lived in a shed behind the house on Shiloh Road, killed the boys with a knife and hammer.

Thursday their grandfather opened up to Action News Jax about the loss.

He said the 30-year-old charged with the murders is dating the boys’ aunt.

The sheriff told Action News Jax investigators are doing more interviews to figure out the reason for the killings and if anyone else is involved.

He said, “There has been some indication there may be some other involvement with some other parties -- that’s not become immediately apparent to us yet.

In the previously mentioned Facebook post, Sheriff DeLoach called for the death penalty.

State Attorney R.J. Larizza said it’s on the table.

He described, “I can tell you the defendant attacked these kids without mercy,” and added, “this is a case worthy of the consideration of the death penalty.”

Wilson’s first court appearance is set for Saturday morning