Officials at the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station are actively investigating the Fourth of July assault of Malibu resident Stafford Taylor.
Though Lt. Jim Royal confirmed the incident occurred, circumstances around the assault are still murky. According to a GoFundMe online fundraiser set up for Taylor, he went missing sometime around 10:45 p.m. on July 4 after walking home from an Independence Day celebration at Malibu Cove Colony. Malibu local Ali Thonson, a friend of Taylor, confirmed Taylor made it past Geoffrey’s—just west of Meadows Court—before disappearing.
Family and friends were unable to locate the man for 36 hours, prompting a missing person report. Taylor was later ID’d at the UCLA Medical Center, where he had been registered under “John Doe.”
Though family and friends called around to hospitals, they were not able to locate Taylor immediately due to his “John Doe” status.
As to where deputies found Taylor, Thonson said, “It was the Labor Exchange.”
He suffered “multiple head injuries and extensive brain damage,” the GoFundMe, written by Terry Taylor, states.
To aid healing, Taylor is currently in an induced coma. He will spend at least two weeks in the UCLA Ronald Reagan Brain Trauma Intensive Care Unit. From there, he may need around one to two years of around-the-clock care, according to the GoFundMe.
A post written by his partner, Terry, stated that his treatment has included heavy sedation, paralyzing medication, fluid draining from the brain, CT scans, and other treatments and medications.
It is unclear what happened to Taylor prior to arriving at the hospital.
“Detectives are interviewing people and trying to reconstruct the timeline,” Royal said in a phone call with The Malibu Times.
He added that they had been in contact with Taylor’s friends “who have also been gathering information.”
Taylor is a local artist and carpenter. A commenter on the recovery fund wrote, “Stafford turned my little Point Dume double wide into a magical beach cottage. So sorry this happened to such a nice, skilled and creative man. Speedy recovery!”
At the July 9 Malibu City Council meeting, council members also mentioned the incident.
“I was really stunned to hear of that tragic situation that involved one of our residents that was beaten, allegedly I guess, on the side of PCH, and that is extremely alarming,” Council Member Skylar Peak said. “I hope that our sheriff’s department works very diligently to find out who committed that crime and bring them to justice, and I hope Stafford gets—recovers—in a timely manner.”
Mayor Rick Mullen, who also works for the fire department, mentioned a separate alleged assault that occurred elsewhere in Malibu recently.
“A poor young lady [who] was driving on Decker got assaulted by three men who jumped in her car and slugged her in the face a few times,” Mullen said, “and I was kind of surprised about that.”
Neither Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station nor the LA County Fire Department was able to confirm the second incident by the time of publication on Tuesday evening, July 10.
For more information on Taylor’s assault and to donate, visit gofundme.com/staffords-recovery-fund.
Anyone who has information regarding the case—or saw Taylor on July 4 or thereafter—is encouraged to call the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station at 818.878.1808 and ask for Detective Wheatcroft.