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Santa Barbara father accused of killing 2 children in Mexico in federal custody

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 12:38:39-04

A Santa Barbara man is reportedly in custody after his two children were found murdered in Mexico.

According to the Baja California State Attorney General, the bodies of the two children were found with multiple stab wounds at a ranch in the Rosarito area. It's believed the murder weapon was a wooden stake.

Mexican authorities say the suspect, identified only by his first and middle names as "Matthew Taylor," 40, was arrested at the border as he tried to reenter the United States. Authorities in Mexico do not use last names to identify subjects.

The Baja California Attorney General's Office said the suspect is a surf instructor from Santa Barbara, California.

The Santa Barbara Police Department reported Tuesday that officers took a missing persons report from a woman on Sunday who said her husband and two children had been missing for approximately 24 hours. Police say their investigation uncovered evidence that the father and two children had possibly traveled to Mexico.

"Just shocked, frankly. Immensely tragic," said Evan Buell, a neighbor of the suspect. "Having known the two kids and the family, it's just awful. I really don't think I have any more words. I'm just stunned."

Police say the FBI is the lead investigating agency on the case.

The FBI released the following statement 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."