A California surfing school owner was charged Wednesday with killing his two young children with a spear gun in Mexico because he believed they would become monsters, authorities said.
Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, of Santa Barbara is facing a federal charge of the foreign murder of U.S. nationals, the U.S. attorney's office said in a statement.
Coleman confessed to the FBI during an interview that he took his 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter to Rosarito, Mexico, where shot a "spear fishing gun" into their chests, according to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent with the criminal complaint.
Coleman said "he believed his children were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them," according to the court document.
A farmworker found the children's bodies on Monday at a ranch near Rosarito in Baja California, authorities there have said.
Coleman and the children had checked into a Rosarito hotel on Saturday, but video footage showed them leaving before dawn on Monday, Mexican authorities said.
The man returned alone later that morning and then left the hotel for good, authorities said.
An iPhone-finding application placed Coleman's phone in Rosarito on Sunday, and on Monday it was traced to an area of Mexico near the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego, according to the affidavit.
Coleman was detained at the border checkpoint, where during an interview with an FBI agent "he explained that he was enlightened by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories and was receiving visions and signs revealing that his wife, A.C., possessed serpent DNA and had passed it on to his children," according to the affidavit.
He's accused of dumping the children's bodies in a ditch near Rosarito, CBS Los Angeles reports.
The station says Coleman's wife reported to Santa Barbara police on Saturday that the family was getting ready to go camping when her husband suddenly took off with the children in the family's van. She said she didn't know where they were going and he hadn't answered her text messages.
Coleman's wife said she didn't believe the children were in any danger, that she hadn't had any problems with Coleman, and "they did not have any sort of argument" before he left, according to the court affidavit.
CBS L.A. says Coleman told FBI agents he'd put his daughter in a box for the ride to Mexico because he didn't have a car seat.
Coleman is the founder of the Lovewater surfing school in Santa Barbara.
The family's neighbors in Santa Barbara told CBS L.A. they're shocked and that Coleman seemed like a good family man. One said he is "shocked" and "stunned." He called it "immensely tragic."
First published on August 12, 2021 / 5:10 AM
© 2021 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.