(KGTV) — A Santa Barbara man accused of killing his two young children in Baja California has been arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Baja California State Attorney General said 40-year-old Matthew Taylor Coleman, of Santa Barbara, was detained by U.S. authorities while trying to cross into the U.S. from Mexico.
According to the AG and the United States Attorney’s Office, Coleman is believed to have arrived at the City Express hotel in Rosarito on Saturday, Aug. 7, at about 8 p.m. with his two children, a two-year-old boy and a 10-month-old girl.
On Monday, Aug. 9, authorities said Coleman left the hotel at about 3 a.m. with all his luggage and two children. During that time, authorities believe Coleman drove about 18 miles away to a ranch in the area of Primo Tapia. There, authorities said he attacked his children, before moving them about 32 feet away and leaving them.
Authorities said he left the children there and returned to the hotel the same day at about 9:30 a.m.
At about 7:30 a.m. Monday, an employee at the Cardoso Ranch in El Descanso discovered blood spots leading to the children's bodies. Police arrived at the scene to find the children's bodies hidden under some bushes. The children had been stabbed several times each, the AG added.
After leaving the hotel, authorities said Coleman tried to return to the U.S., where he was detained.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Coleman's wife contacted police after he left their home in a Sprinter van on Saturday and she didn't know where they had gone. She was able to determine that his phone had been in Rosarito on Sunday. At the time, she said she was not worried about the childrens' safety, but was concerned that her husband had not brought a car seat.
Baja California's AG said U.S. authorities had contacted Rosarito police about the case. An Amber Alert was issued in Mexico after police were made aware of the missing children.
"The same phone-locating service was used on Monday and showed that Coleman’s phone was near the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the U.S.-Mexico border," according to the affidavit.
The FBI dispatched colleagues in San Diego to contact Coleman, who was attempting to enter the United States in the Sprinter van without the children. When the children were not found, FBI agents contacted law enforcement officials in Rosarito and learned that Mexican authorities that morning had recovered the bodies of two children matching the description of Coleman’s children, a U.S. Attorney's Office release said.
FBI agents took Coleman into custody.
The FBI's Los Angeles Office is the lead agency in the investigation on the U.S. side of the border. In a statement to ABC 10News, the FBI said:
"The FBI is working with police in Santa Barbara following a report they received about three missing persons; one adult male and his two children who are believed to have crossed the southern border into Mexico. A joint investigation is underway among the Santa Barbara Police Department, the FBI in Los Angeles and San Diego, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Mexican authorities. Currently, the adult male, is in federal custody and the investigation is continuing."
Wednesday, a criminal complaint from the U.S. Attorney’s Office obtained by ABC 10News said that Coleman admitted to the killings and said that he, "was enlightened by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories and was receiving visions and signs revealing that his wife ... possessed serpent DNA and had passed it onto his children. M. Coleman said that he was saving the world from monsters."
The court documents reveal Coleman admitted to authorities that he killed the children by shooting them with a "spear fishing gun."
Coleman owns a surf school in Santa Barbara, according to Mexican authorities.
U.S. and Mexico authorities are coordinating in their investigations, Baja California's AG added. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday that Coleman has been charged with foreign murder of United States nationals.
He is expected to make his first court appearance in Los Angeles on Wednesday.