SAN DIEGO — A Santa Barbara man accused of killing his two young children last month in Rosarito, Mexico, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday.
The indictment charges 40-year-old Matthew Taylor Coleman with two counts of foreign first-degree murder of United States nationals. Coleman, the founder of a California surf school for children, is accused of killing his 2-year-old boy identified in the indictment as “K.C.” and 10-month-old girl identified as “R.C.” Their bodies were found Aug. 9 by a field worker in some brush on a ranch near Rosarito in the Mexican state of Baja California.
Under the charges filed, Coleman is eligible for the death penalty or life in prison with a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. The Attorney General is expected to decide whether to seek the death penalty at a later date, according to a news release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of California.
“There are no words to describe the profound grief that envelops an entire community when a child is murdered,” Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in a statement. “The Department of Justice is determined to achieve justice for these victims and their loved ones.”
Coleman originally was charged in a federal complaint in Los Angeles, but prosecutors plan to dismiss that complaint, according to the release. He is due to make an initial court appearance on the indictment Thursday in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
The case will be prosecuted in U.S. District Court in San Diego at a later date, the release shows.
Coleman was taken into custody Aug. 9 by FBI agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. In an affidavit filed last month, an FBI special agents alleged Coleman murdered his children “by shooting a spear fishing gun into their chests.” Speaking to the FBI, Coleman confessed to the murders, saying he was “enlightened” by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories, the complaint alleges.
He further stated he was “receiving visions and signs revealing that his wife … possessed serpent DNA,” which he believed had been passed to the kids, according to the complaint.
His wife told Santa Barbara police that Coleman left the the family’s home in a Sprinter van and that “she did not know where they had gone,” the indictment shows. Authorities were able to track down Coleman following the incident using his wife’s Find My iPhone application, which placed him in Mexico on Aug. 8 near an open-air shopping center, according to the complaint.
The farmhand who found the children told Border Report one of his dogs led him to the two “small bodies,” including one still wearing diapers.
“To be honest, I teared up,” said the worker, who wished not to be named. “And I immediately notified my manager to call the police to come investigate. “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.”
In a statement, Kristi K. Johnson, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, called the murder of a child “difficult to understand under any circumstances.”
“I’m proud of the quick investigative efforts by FBI Agents, the Santa Barbara Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and our Mexican counterparts which led to the arrest of Mr. Coleman as he entered the United States,” Johnson said, “and I look forward to delivering justice for the young victims and their family.”
The indictment is posted below in its entirety.