SAN DIEGO – California surf school owner arrested on suspicion of stabbing her two young children to death in Mexico, the authorities announced on Tuesday.
Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, of Santa Barbara, was arrested by US customs and border protection officers on his way to the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro checkpoint and remained in federal custody, Mexican authorities said.
The arrest came after the bodies of two children, a 3-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy, were found Monday morning by a farm worker at a ranch near Rosarito in Baja California, Hiram Sanchez said, Attorney General of Baja California.
The girl had been stabbed 12 times and the boy 17 times, he said. A wooden stake stained with blood was also found, authorities said.
“They lived in Santa Barbara, California and were brought to Rosarito without the mother’s consent,” Sanchez said, in Spanish, at a press conference, according to Telemundo 20 in San Diego.
Coleman and the children had checked into a Rosarito hotel on Saturday, but video footage showed them leaving before dawn on Monday, authorities said.
The man then returned on his own later in the morning and left the hotel for good, authorities said.
The attorney general added that the suspect had a fluency in Spanish and allegedly attempted to flee the United States through the international border of San Ysidro.
“You see a prepared person; therefore, the intentions of the acts that were committed are very clear,” Sanchez said.
Coleman has founded a surf school in Santa Barbara, northwest of Los Angeles, authorities said.
Santa Barbara Police said Coleman’s wife reported them missing and said she was concerned for their well-being.
Coleman could face Mexican charges of aggravated murder.
The case is under investigation by the FBI in Los Angeles and San Diego, the Border Patrol and the Santa Barbara Police Department.
Efforts to reach Coleman failed on Wednesday. We didn’t know if he had a lawyer.