Santa Barbara surf school owner detained in death of 2 children in Mexico

SAN DIEGO – A California surf school owner has been arrested on suspicion of stabbing his two young children to death in Mexico, authorities said on Tuesday.

Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, of Santa Barbara, was arrested by US Customs and Border Protection officers on his way to the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro checkpoint and remained in federal detention, Mexican authorities said.

The arrest came after the bodies of two children, a 3-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy, were found Monday morning by a farm worker at a ranch near Rosarito in Baja California, Hiram Sanchez said, Attorney General of Baja California.

The girl had been stabbed 12 times and the boy 17 times, he said.

A wooden stake stained with blood was also found, authorities said.

Coleman and the children had checked into a Rosarito hotel on Saturday, but video footage showed them leaving before dawn on Monday, authorities said.

The man then returned on his own later that morning and left the hotel for good, authorities said.

Coleman has founded a surf school in Santa Barbara, northwest of Los Angeles, authorities said.

Santa Barbara Police said Coleman’s wife reported them missing and said she was concerned for their well-being.

Coleman could face Mexican charges of aggravated murder.

It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

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