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Man arrested in triple homicide of mother, two young children

22-year-old Markayla Johnson and 4-year-old Miracle Johnson
Markayla Johnson, 22, and 4-year-old Miracle Johnson.

A 35-year-old man has been charged in a triple homicide that left a Charlotte mother and her two children dead, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.

Benjamin Joseph Taylor was arrested this weekend in Imperial County, California, which borders Mexico. He’s charged with three counts of murder and one count of concealment of death in the case of Markayla Johnson, 22, Miracle Johnson, 4, and 7-month-old Messiah Johnson.

Police found their bodies when executing a search warrant Friday after the three had been reported missing weeks earlier, on March 3.

"As detectives began to investigate this missing persons case ... that search warrant, unfortunately, revealed the bodies of all three," CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said this weekend. "Nothing is worse than homicides of small children and family members."

Jennings said Markayla Johnson had been in a relationship with the suspect.

"It's not a random act that we're talking about," he said.

No additional details have been released as of Monday.

Taylor is being held in California awaiting extradition to North Carolina.

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Woody is a Charlotte native who came to WFAE from the world of NASCAR where he was host of NASCAR Today for MRN Radio as well as a pit reporter, turn announcer and host of the NASCAR Live pre race show for Cup Series races. Before that, he was a news anchor at WBT radio in Charlotte, a traffic reporter, editor of The Charlotte Observer’s University City Magazine, News/Sports Director at WEGO-AM in Concord and a Swiss Army knife in local cable television. His first job after graduating from Appalachian State University was news reporter at The Daily Independent in Kannapolis. Along the way he’s covered everything from murder trials and a national political convention to high school sports and minor league baseball.