SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KABC) — The owner of a Santa Barbara, Calif., surf school was arrested for allegedly stabbing and killing his two children – ages 1 and 3 – in Mexico.
Baja California officials on Tuesday said Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, was arrested when he tried crossing back into the U.S.
Baja California prosecutor Hiram Sánchez Zamora said authorities responded to a 911 call around 7:30 a.m. Monday and found the two children near the El Descanso ranch after they were first discovered by a farmworker. The prosecutor said the girl had been stabbed 12 times and the boy was stabbed 17 times.
Blood stains and a wooden stake, possibly the murder weapon, were found at the scene.
Officials say Coleman went to Rosarito with the 3-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy to check into a City Express hotel. On Monday, officials say Coleman left the hotel with his children around 2:45 a.m. and returned nearly three hours later by himself.
Coleman left the hotel around 9:30 a.m. Police say they have security video of the man checking into the hotel with his children and leaving without them. The infants were found about 18 miles from where they were staying.
Coleman, along with his wife Abby Coleman, run the Lovewater Surf School in Santa Barbara. The popular surfing school’s website features photos of the entire Coleman family.
In Santa Barbara, Abby Coleman called police worried about the well-being of her husband and children who had been missing for 24 hours. She shared information with detectives that her husband may have traveled to Mexico.
Santa Barbara police alerted the FBI and Border Patrol about the three missing Californians.
As Coleman tried to re-enter the U.S. from Mexico without his two children, he was detained by U.S. Border police.
Mexican and U.S. authorities are working to return the bodies to California.