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Feds Say Santa Barbara Father Confessed to Killing 2 Children in Mexico To Stop Them From Growing Into Monsters

NBC San Diego logo NBC San Diego 8/12/2021 Christina Bravo, Marinee Zavala and Fabiola Berriozábal
a man sitting at a desk: An image pulled from a surveillance video showing the suspect at a hotel in Rosarito, Mexico, with his son. The image on the right is a photo of the suspect from his surf school’s Instagram page. © Provided by NBC San Diego

An image pulled from a surveillance video showing the suspect at a hotel in Rosarito, Mexico, with his son. The image on the right is a photo of the suspect from his surf school’s Instagram page.

Warning: graphic content; this article may be disturbing to some. Discretion is advised.

A Santa Barbara man took his two toddler children to Rosarito, Mexico, where he shot a fishing spear into their chests and left them to die on a ranch 35 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a criminal complaint filed by federal authorities Wednesday.

Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, faces charges of foreign murder of U.S. citizens. The victims, according to the federal complaint, were his 10-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son, whose lifeless bodies were discovered Monday morning with dozens of stab wounds on the Rancho Del Descanso agricultural ranch in Baja California, according to Mexican authorities.

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In court on Wednesday afternoon, a federal judge ordered that Coleman, who operates a surf school in Santa Barbara and has a master's degree in Spanish, be detained. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Los Angeles on Aug. 31.

Coleman and his two children were first reported missing from Santa Barbara on Saturday by his wife, who was concerned because the family had planned to go on a camping trip together, according to the complaint. Their Sprinter van was missing, but the mother did not believe her children were in any danger.

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The next day, Santa Barbara authorities discovered Coleman and the children were in Mexico through the use of an iPhone locator app. The FBI took over the case and alerted U.S. Border Patrol agents to be on the lookout for Coleman and the children, the complaint said.

Surveillance video showed Coleman and his two children on Saturday checking into the hotel City Express Rosarito 20 miles south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, according to the Baja California Attorney General's Office.

Miguel Barbosa wearing a hat: A photo of Santa Barbara surf instructor Matt Taylor Coleman, who is accused of killing his two children in Rosarito, Mexico. This photo is from his surf school's Instagram account. © Provided by NBC San Diego A photo of Santa Barbara surf instructor Matt Taylor Coleman, who is accused of killing his two children in Rosarito, Mexico. This photo is from his surf school's Instagram account.

According to Baja authorities, a surveillance video showed Coleman leave the hotel, with his two children, at 3 a.m. Monday. Hours later, he returned alone. Then, he checked out of the hotel.

When Coleman tried to return to the U.S. through the San Ysidro Port of Entry at 1 p.m. on Monday, he was apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, who were already on the lookout for him, the complaint said.

Federal authorities were concerned that he did not have his children but had not yet learned that two children of similar age had been discovered on a ranch nearby earlier that morning.

During an interview at the border, Coleman confessed to the murders, the complaint said.

"Coleman stated that he believed his children were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them," the complaint read.

In the confession, according to the complaint, Coleman admitted to using a fishing spear to kill his children. He told authorities where their bodies were located, which was consistent with where the two children were found, the complaint said.

Coleman referenced conspiracy theories in his confession, like QAnon and Illuminati, the complaint said, adding that he told them he was receiving visions and signs revealing that his wife possessed serpent DNA and had passed it on to his children.

"Coleman was asked whether he knew what he did was wrong. M Coleman stated that he knew it was wrong, but it was the only course of action that would save the world."

graphical user interface: Surveillance video captured the suspect checking into City Express Rosarito, authorities said © Provided by NBC San Diego Surveillance video captured the suspect checking into City Express Rosarito, authorities said graphical user interface, website © Provided by NBC San Diego
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