Los Angeles, California - A Santa Barbara man was charged Wednesday with taking his two young children to Rosarito, Mexico and killing them.
Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, allegedly killed the 2-year-old boy and 10-month-old girl on Monday. A federal criminal complaint filed today charges Coleman with foreign murder of United States nationals.
Coleman was expected to make his initial court appearance that afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
An affidavit in support of the criminal complaint outlines the investigation that started on Saturday when Coleman’s wife contacted the Santa Barbara Police to report that her husband had left the couple’s residence in a Sprinter van and she did not know where they had gone.
The next day, Coleman’s wife filed a missing persons report. Using a computer application, Coleman’s wife was able to determine that Coleman’s phone had been in Rosarito on Sunday afternoon, the affidavit states.
The same phone-locating service was used on Monday and showed that Coleman’s phone was near the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the affidavit. The FBI dispatched colleagues in San Diego to contact Coleman, who entered the United States in the Sprinter van without the children. When the children were not found, FBI agents contacted law enforcement officials in Rosarito and learned that Mexican authorities that morning had recovered the bodies of two children matching the description of Coleman’s children.
After further investigation, FBI agents took Coleman into custody.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The FBI, United States Customs and Border Protection, the Santa Barbara Police Department, and the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Municipal de Rosarito are investigating this matter. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office provided substantial assistance throughout the investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Kevin Butler of the Violent and Organized Crime Section and Joanna Curtis, Chief of the Violent and Organized Crime Section, are prosecuting this case.