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Sheriff: Man killed boys with hammer, knife in Putnam County mobile home

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office says 30-year-old Mark Wilson Jr. was living on the family's property.

MELROSE, Fla. — A man is facing two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of two boys whose bodies were found in a Melrose mobile home Tuesday.

The Putnam County Sheriff's office says deputies have arrested Mark Wilson, Jr. of Melrose for the killing of Robert Baker, 12, and Tayten Baker, 14.

Investigators say Wilson is well known to the family. Jail records updated Friday morning show Wilson, of Newberry, has been booked and is being held on no bond.

During a news conference Friday morning, Putnam County Sheriff Gator Deloach said Wilson used two weapons to kill the boys, a hammer and a knife. Deloach said there is still a lot of work to do and many unanswered questions. 

Wilson has an extensive criminal history involving drugs and property crimes, but no former violence, Deloach said. He was living on the Bakers' property, where he and his girlfriend had been invited to live.

The sheriff said Wilson's motive is unclear.

State Attorney R.J. Larizza also spoke during the news conference.

“This case is an example of how two horrific murders can be solved in a matter of 48 hours by working together,” Larizza said. He said the murder is horrific to the entire community and one of the most brutal murders he’s heard about.

Wilson was not in court for his first appearance because he did not get booked into the jail in time, Col. Wells and the sheriff said. The appearance will be accessible via Zoom on Saturday.

You can watch the full press conference below.

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14-year-old Tayten and 12-year-old Robert Baker were killed in their Melrose home Tuesday, Aug. 25
Credit: Putnam County Sheriff's Office
Mark Wilson Jr. is accused of murdering two Putnam County boys

Thursday, the deaths of the two boys were confirmed as homicides, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office. An autopsy reported was completed Thursday.

Investigators have not specified how the boys were killed.

Putnam County Sheriff Gator Deloach had some strong words for Wilson, which he shared in a post to his Facebook page Friday morning. It said:

"Mark Wilson, the sick monster responsible for Tayten and Robert’s brutal murder was arrested last night. Very quickly detectives honed in on Wilson and immediately established this individual was only a threat to those around him. Unfortunately, Robert and Tayten were the ones who suffered whatever was going through Wilson’s twisted agenda. As a parent, the murders of Robert and Tayten are an unimaginable loss to a family. I can’t begin to understand the anguish their parents are suffering. 

I am grateful to the members of our community who called in with information and to our dedicated staff at the sheriff’s office who worked tirelessly together to bring this grieving family some closure. 

This arrest is only the first step in bringing Robert and Tayten justice. My sincere hope is that the death penalty is pursued in these senseless murders."

The boys were found dead inside a the home on Shiloh Road Tuesday. Deputies say the boys' mother and sibling were inside the home, but weren't injured.

The boys' father is a long-distance truck driver who was not home at the time of the incident, deputies said.

PCSO confirmed that a family recently moved to the area and consider this to be an isolated incident. Their parents are cooperating with investigators and are not being looked into, deputies say.

RELATED: UPDATE: Arrest made in deaths of 2 Melrose boys

RELATED: 2 boys, ages 12-16, found dead inside Melrose, Putnam County mobile home

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