George, Ann Taylor die from injuries suffered in south KC crime - KCTV5 News

Ann and George Taylor die from injuries suffered in south KC crime spree

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

An elderly couple who were brutally beaten inside their home have died from their injuries almost exactly a week after they were attacked.

Police announced the death of 86-year-old Ann Taylor, whose desperate 911 call alerted authorities to a crime spree in south Kansas City.

Taylor died Tuesday at an area hospital, Kansas City police announced Tuesday afternoon. They said Taylor's family had notified them of her death.

"Our condolences continue to be with all families involved," the police department said in a news release.

In a separate news release, the Taylors' family announced the death of both.

"George and Ann died peacefully and we are blessed that they left this Earth together. They were married more than 40 years, and loved each other dearly," the statement said. "They lived life fully, and while many might say they were old, they were healthy, vibrant, independent and extremely active in the community - a community they loved and gave back to generously."

Christine DeWitt, the Taylors' granddaughter, spoke about how much they loved their family and friends.

"They were wonderful parents, loving grandparents, the best friends you could ask for, kind and caring neighbors and took pride in helping others. We are all better human beings for knowing and loving them," she said. "While we are devastated to have lost George and Ann today, we want something good to come out of this tragedy and send this message: Love one another; hold your family close; have faith and live life fully - just as they did."

Relatives of the couple, who became the fourth and fifth homicide victims of the crime spree, were seen taking items from their home on Tuesday. They are now preparing for the couple's funeral.

Neighbors who learned of George and Ann Taylor's deaths said they were deeply affected by the news.

"Very sad because I kept hoping that they could come home," said neighbor Marge Schroeder.

Brandon B. Howell was previously charged with assaulting the couple, brutally beating and leaving them in the basement of their South Kansas City home. He is accused of gunning down the Taylors' neighbors as they caught Howell trying to steal the Taylors' antique Jaguar. When he was unable to start the vehicle, he then stole their Toyota Highlander, police said.

Howell, 34, faces 12 charges including three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, burglary and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is in the Jackson County Jail and a judge refused to allow him to make bond.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is expected to upgrade the assault charges involving the Taylors to first-degree murder. Baker is likely weighing the death penalty against Howell.

"Be assured that at the appropriate time, today's sad news of the Taylor's passing will be reflected in the state's case against the defendant," Baker said.

A week ago Tuesday, Ann and George Taylor had been left for dead in their basement, but Ann Taylor managed to get to a telephone and call 911.

"Help," she told the dispatcher while managing to give her address. "Shotgun."

And then the line went dead just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Suspicious neighbors sought to alert authorities. When Howell couldn't start the Jag, he allegedly managed to get the keys to the Taylors' Toyota Highlander.

As he was leaving the neighborhood, the suspect stopped and got out of the SUV. Armed with a shotgun, he confronted Susan Choucroun, 69, who had left her home. Howell allegedly pulled out his shotgun and shot Choucroun once. She collapsed and would die in her own driveway.

Officers arriving at the typically quiet cul-de-sac found the garage doors open to the Taylors' and Choucroun's homes. After finding the Taylors desperately clinging to life and Choucroun dead, officers began a door-to-door search for other victims and suspects.

At the home of 88-year-old Lorene Hurst, they found her shot dead along with her 63-year-old son, Darrel, who was visiting her as he did regularly. They were found in the front yard.

Marge Schroeder is left to wonder if the neighborhood will ever be the same again.

"This is overwhelming. It's horrible, makes me jumpy," she said.

Share your condolences with the Taylor family on KCTV5's Facebook page. Click here for more.

Here is the entire statement from Christine DeWitt, the Taylors' granddaughter.

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce George and Ann Taylor died today from the brutal injuries they suffered during the Kansas City, Missouri shootings on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

"We deeply appreciate the community's support and their outpouring of love, and thank the Kansas City Police Department, first responders and hospital staff for their excellent care and compassion.

"George and Ann died peacefully and we are blessed that they left this Earth together. They were married more than 40 years, and loved each other dearly. They lived life fully, and while many might say they were old, they were healthy, vibrant, independent and extremely active in the community- a community they loved and gave back to generously.

"They were wonderful parents, loving grandparents, the best friends you could ask for, kind and caring neighbors and took pride in helping others. We are all better human beings for knowing and loving them.

"While we are devastated to have lost George and Ann today, we want something good to come out of this tragedy and send this message: Love one another; hold your family close; have faith and live life fully - just as they did."

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