A father from California traveled to Mexico with his two young children and allegedly stabbed them to death on a ranch before attempting to flee back to the United States, according to authorities.
On Aug 8, a mother contacted police and said she was “concerned for the wellbeing” of her husband, identified in reports by his first name only, Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, and their two children, a 3-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy, after they had been missing for almost 24 hours, the Santa Barbara Police Department said in a statement.
Investigators determined Coleman, who is a surf school operator, may have gone to Mexico.
The Baja California Attorney General's office said surveillance video from the City Express Rosarito hotel allegedly shows Matthew Coleman checking into the hotel on Aug. 7 with two children.
At 2:54 a.m. Aug. 9, the father left the hotel with the toddlers, returned without them around three and a half hours later, at 6:33 a.m., and then checked out of the hotel after around three more hours, security footage allegedly shows.
According to Mexican authorities, a worker at Rancho del Descanso, a property located 35 miles south of the U.S. border and about 18 miles from the hotel, discovered the bodies of the two toddlers after his dog led him to the area, television station KNSD reported.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents arrested the suspect on suspicion of murder as he attempted to cross back into the United States from Mexico over the San Ysidro bridge.
“They lived in Santa Barbara, California, and were brought to Rosarito without the mother's consent,” said Hiram Sánchez, the Baja California Central Prosecutor, according to KNSD.
“You see a prepared person; hence it is very clear about the intentions of the acts that were being carried out,” she noted of the suspect, who has a master’s degree in Spanish.
“Currently, the adult male is in federal custody and the investigation is continuing,” the FBI’s Los Angeles field office said in a statement, noting the agency is working on the case with the Santa Barbara Police Department, the FBI in San Diego, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Mexican authorities.
Federal officails charged Coleman with foreign murder of United States nationals.