Calif. Surfing Coach Accused of Stabbing Children to Death in Mexico Is Arrested Trying to Return to U.S.
A California man was taken into custody at the U.S. and Mexico border earlier this week after he was accused of stabbing his two young children to death with a wooden stake.
Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, ran a surfing school in Santa Barbara with his wife, Abby. He was arrested at the border while driving his Mercedes, Mexican officials said in a press conference.
His arrest came after the bodies of a 3-year-old boy and an 11-month-old girl were discovered on Monday by a farmworker in the brush in Baja California, a Mexican province about 60 miles south of San Diego. The farmworker saw blood on the ground and his dogs discovered the slain toddlers.
Authorities tell the San Francisco Gate that the girl was stabbed about 12 times and the boy was stabbed 17 times. A blood-stained wooden stake was found near the bodies.
Police say that Coleman had traveled with the children to Mexico and checked into a hotel room on Saturday. The children's mother reported her husband and the kids missing the following day, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Investigators believe that Coleman took the children to a ranch in Mexico early Monday morning, killed them, and returned to his hotel a few hours later, according to charging documents obtained by the newspaper.
After making the grisly discovery, agents with Baja California's State Security and Investigation Guard contacted U.S. authorities, saying that the suspect would likely be heading back to the United States. American border officers stopped him as he approached the San Ysidro Port of Entry. He was arrested at the scene.
Authorities have not released a motive in the alleged murders.
In a statement, an FBI spokesperson said that there are several agencies working on the case.
"A joint investigation is underway among the Santa Barbara Police Department, the FBI in Los Angeles and San Diego, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Mexican authorities," the statement reads. "Currently the adult male is in federal custody and the investigation is continuing."
PEOPLE confirms through online court records that Coleman is being held without bond on two counts of first-degree murder. The records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf, and he has not yet entered a plea.
The children's bodies will be returned to the United States after the crime scene is processed.