A California man who reportedly operates a surfing school in Santa Barbara was taken into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border this week, accused of having brutally stabbed his two young children to death with a wooden stake in Mexico.
The children, a boy and girl, both between ages 1 and 3, were each found with multiple stab wounds – the boy stabbed 17 times and the girl stabbed 12 times, according to Border Report.
The suspect, identified as Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, of Santa Barbara, was driving a Mercedes-Benz vehicle when was stopped by border agents around 7 a.m. Monday as he returned to the U.S. via the San Ysidro Point of Entry in California, the report said.
Coleman had traveled with the children to Rosarito, Mexico, a Pacific coast town about 60 miles south of San Diego, and checked into a hotel room on Saturday, the news outlet reported.
Some news accounts referred to him as “Matthew Taylor” because Mexican authorities don’t disclose the last names of suspects, reports said.
The children’s mother reported her husband and the children missing Sunday, after they had been gone for 24 hours, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Investigators believe the suspect took the children to a ranch in Mexico early Monday, then returned to the hotel without them a few hours later, the Union-Tribune reported, citing information from Hiram Sanchez Zamora, a prosecutor in the Mexican state of Baja California.
Authorities say a farmhand found the children’s bloody bodies on the property on Monday, according to Border Report.
The farmhand said he saw splattered blood on the ground when he came out of his home, and his dogs led him to the bodies, the report said.
At least one of the children was dressed in diapers, the report said.
The children had apparently been stabbed with a wooden stake, the Union-Tribune reported.
“To be honest, I teared up. And I immediately notified my manager to call the police to come investigate,” the farmhand said, according to Border Report. “I was scared and sad because these are tiny children who don’t know any better. Hopefully, they find whoever is responsible because this is a terrible thing.”
Coleman was reportedly the operator of Lovewater, a surfing school in Santa Barbara. The school’s website late Tuesday still included photos of Coleman and his smiling family.
The suspect was being held in the U.S., awaiting likely extradition to Mexico to face murder charges, FOX 5 of San Diego reported.
Law enforcement agencies involved in the case included the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Santa Barbara Police Department and Mexican authorities, FOX 5 reported.