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Santa Barbara man suspected of killing his 2 toddlers arrested at San Ysidro border

Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, is accused of killing his 10-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son.

ROSARITO, Baja California — A Santa Barbara man was arrested at the San Ysidro border entry Monday on suspicion of killing his two young children while in Rosarito, Mexico, authorities said Tuesday. Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, is accused of killing his 10-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son.

Prosecutor Hiram Sánchez Zamora of Baja California said in a press briefing that a 911 call was received Monday just before 7:30 a.m. reporting the discovery of the bodies of a boy and girl near El Descanso Ranch in the Primo Tapia district. According to authorities, both children appeared to have stab wounds to their bodies consistent with a wooden stake found nearby which is considered a possible murder weapon. 

During an investigation, law enforcement found that on Saturday Coleman had checked into City Express Hotel located near the Reforma neighborhood on the Tijuana-Ensenada Freeway with his two children. 

Early Monday morning, authorities believe Coleman left the hotel with his children just before 3 a.m. and returned to the hotel just after 6:33 a.m. He left the hotel again just after 9:30 a.m. 

Sánchez Zamora said information is being shared with authorities in the U.S. who arrested Coleman as he was returning through the San Ysidro border crossing. 

Coleman reportedly owns a surf school in Santa Barbara. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, he attended Point Loma Nazarene University before getting his master's degree from UC Santa Barbara. 

Leading up to Coleman's arrest, Santa Barbara police confirm that Coleman's wife had reported her husband and her two young children missing, saying that she was concerned for their well-being. Further investigation by police determined that the three had possibly crossed into Mexico.

Authorities on both sides of the border are now working to return the bodies of the two children here to California. 

Coleman could be extradited to Mexico to face charges. If ultimately convicted of his children's' murders, he could spend at least the next 60 years in a Mexican prison. 

An FBI office in Los Angeles released the following statement on the case to News 8 on Tuesday: 

"The FBI is working with police in Santa Barbara following a report they received about three missing persons - one adult male and his two children who are believed to have crossed the southern border into Mexico.  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. Currently, the adult male is in federal custody and the investigation is continuing." 

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misidentified the ages of the son and daughter. We regret the error.

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