Memorial honors lives of slain Putnam County brothers

Robert Baker would have turned 13 years old Friday, family says

Loved ones gathered Friday night to honor the lives of two brothers who were murdered in their Putnam County home.

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – Loved ones gathered Friday night to honor the lives of two brothers who were murdered in their Putnam County home.

Investigators said Robert Baker and his 14-year-old brother Tayten were killed by Mark Wilson Jr., their aunt’s boyfriend.

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Robert would have turned 13 years old Friday, and family and friends gathered at Little Rain Lake Park in Keystone Heights to mark the occasion. They said the boy was a baseball superstar.

His mother, Sarah Benson, couldn’t hold back tears.

“He wouldn’t want us to forget him, especially he was looking forward to a big birthday party for his 13th birthday,” Benson said. “He wanted to sign up for school, to do the baseball for Keystone, so we figured this would be a nice honor, tribute to him not making it to his 13th birthday.”

The family says Robert and Tayten always stuck together.

“They were two peas in a pod. Robert was the tougher of the two. Tayten was more of the giant teddy bear that we always referred to him as," Benson said. “I want people to remember that they were kind and innocent, fun, outgoing. My babies. I just don’t want anybody to ever forget them.”

Benson found the children dead inside their Melrose home three weeks ago. According to his arrest warrant, Wilson Jr. had plotted to kill the entire family and that he used a hammer and a knife to take the brothers' lives.

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Wilson is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

“I hope he rots in hell. In a deep dark hell," Benson said.

The boys' father, Chad Baker, said the family has received outpouring support from others.

“I’m blown away from the amount of support from the community," he said. "For a family that moved two-and-a-half hours north just recently, to have this support from the community, it’s mind blowing.”

For Benson, every day is a challenge.

“When you first wake up, you wait to see their little faces and their screaming at each other, like, mom this one is grabbing this, and when you don’t hear it, reality sets in. And it just brings a wave of emotions and I just want to make it stop and nothing is ever going to make it stop," she said.

The family had only lived in their Melrose home for roughly two weeks before the boys were killed. They said they cannot set foot back into their house again.

Loved ones have created a GoFundMe to help the family.

About the Author:

Corley Peel is a Texas native and Texas Tech graduate who covered big stories in Joplin, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida before returning to the Lone Star State. When not reporting, Corley enjoys hot yoga, Tech Football, and finding the best tacos in town.