A Santa Barbara man was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury for taking his two young children to Mexico and killing them with a spear gun. Matthew Coleman, 40, was charged with two counts of foreign first-degree murder of United States nationals, according to the indictment filed Wednesday.
The charges make Coleman eligible for the death penalty, but the Attorney General will decide at a later date whether to do so, CBS Los Angeles reports.
Coleman told FBI agents “he believed his children were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them,” according to a complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court. Coleman’s reported belief in QAnon led him to believe his wife had
A farmworker found the children’s bodies at a ranch near Rosarito in Baja California, authorities there said.
A federal complaint filed in Los Angeles previously charging Coleman with the same crimes will be dismissed. Coleman is scheduled to make his first court appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, but will later be prosecuted in United States District Court in San Diego.
The investigation into Coleman, who was the founder of the Lovewater surfing school in Santa Barbara, began when his wife contacted the Santa Barbara police to report that her husband left their home with their children and she didn’t know where they had gone. She filed a missing persons report the next day, and with a phone-tracking application, located him in Rosarito, Mexico on Aug. 8.
Coleman’s phone was tracked the next day to the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the border, where the FBI made contact with him as he reentered the U.S. without his children. The FBI contacted law enforcement in Rosarito, and learned that the bodies of two children matching the description of the Coleman children had been recovered.
“There are no words to describe the profound grief that envelops an entire community when a child is murdered,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “The Department of Justice is determined to achieve justice for these victims and their loved ones.”