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Criminal complaint paints disturbing psychological portrait of father who confessed to killing his 2 toddlers

Coleman told investigators that he was influenced by Q-Anon conspiracy theories and that by killing his two children, he was "saving the world from monsters"

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A criminal complaint obtained by News 8 provides disturbing new details about what led up to a Southern California father allegedly killing his two young children in Mexico earlier this week.

Matthew Taylor Coleman confessed to fatally shooting his 2-year-old boy and 10-month-old girl with a spearfishing gun, according to federal court records, in an area south of Rosarito early Monday morning. 

According to the criminal complaint, Coleman told investigators that he was influenced by Q-Anon and Illuminati conspiracy theories and that by murdering his two children, he was "saving the world from monsters.''

The 40-year-old Santa Barbara resident also told federal investigators that he had to kill his toddlers, explaining that he was receiving "signs and visions" that his wife possessed serpent DNA, and had "passed it on to his children.

"There is so much tragedy in this," said Dr. Erik Fox, a forensic psychologist and attorney.

He cautioned that he has not evaluated Coleman personally, basing his observations on the criminal complaint and media reports.

"Were they in a manic episode? Were they bipolar? Were they under the influence of something?" Dr. Fox told News 8. "Were they not taking their medications that could have triggered something in a particular way? There are a number of theories that one would want to investigate in a case like this."

Dr. Fox pointed out that Coleman's age - 40 - is notable.

"We don't typically see someone having a psychotic break or at least a first psychotic episode at that age," Dr. Fox said. "Those things usually occur in younger individuals between 18 and 25."

The complaint also pointed out that when Coleman's wife reported him and her two children missing, she said she did not believe her kids were in any danger, adding that there was no argument prior to Coleman's disappearance

"So it appears that this came out of left field even for those who were closest to him," Dr. Fox added.  

In terms of Coleman's mental state as a possible defense, it may come down to whether he understood what he was doing as he was allegedly committing the murders, although he later told investigators that he knew it was wrong.

"Yet at the same time he indicated that he had to do it to save the world, " Dr. Fox said. "So that's going to be for the lawyers to fight over at some point."

Coleman is currently being held in federal prison without bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 31.

WATCH RELATED: Criminal complaint reveals disturbing details of CA father charged with murdering his toddlers 

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