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Santa Barbara father indicted for killing his children in Mexico

Matthew Taylor Coleman is expected to make his first court appearance in Los Angeles on Thursday.
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Posted at 3:05 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 22:37:11-04

A federal grand jury has indicted Matthew Taylor Coleman, a Santa Barbara father, for killing his two children in Mexico.

The indictment, filed on Aug. 8, charges Coleman with two counts of foreign first-degree murder of United States nationals. The charges are eligible for the death penalty.

The Attorney General will decide whether to seek the death penalty at a later date.

Coleman, 40, allegedly killed his children, a 2-year-old boy and 10-month-old girl, on Aug. 9, 2021, in Rosarito, Mexico.

Coleman was charged with the same crimes in a federal complaint filed in Los Angeles, though officials say that prosecutors will likely dismiss that complaint.

Coleman is expected to make his first court appearance on the indictment on Thursday at the United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

He will be prosecuted at the United States District Court in San Diego at a future date.

According to an affidavit, an investigation started when Coleman's wife initially contacted the Santa Barbara Police to report that he had left their home in a Sprinter van, and she did not know where he had gone.

The next day, Coleman's wife filed a missing persons report. She used the Find My iPhone app to see that his phone had been in Rosarito on Sunday afternoon.

The affidavit says the same app was used the following day, showing that Coleman's phone was near the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The FBI sent law enforcement to contact Coleman, who reentered the United States in the Sprinter van without his children.

FBI agents learned that Mexican authorities had recovered the bodies of two children matching the description of Coleman's children.

FBI agents took Coleman into custody at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The maximum penalty for the charge of Foreign First-Degree Murder of U.S. Nationals is death or life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The FBI, the United States Customs and Border Protection and the Santa Barbara Police Department are the agencies involved.