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Santa Barbara man arrested, accused of killing his two children in Mexico

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A Santa Barbara man has been arrested after Mexican authorities found his two children dead from an apparent stabbing.

The two children were found Monday morning after law enforcement responded to a ranch near the municipality of Rosarito, Mexico near Mexico's Baja California coast. An employee at the ranch first found blood stains before locating the bodies of the two young children.

A wooden stake stained with blood was also found by the employee, according to the Baja California State Attorney General’s Office.

The attorney general's office said the children were between the ages of 1 and 3. One was a girl, the other a boy.

Investigators said they both died from stab wounds – the young girl was stabbed 12 times, her brother stabbed 17 times.

Mexican officials were able to locate camera footage of a hotel where the kids stayed with a man identified as their father. The footage was taken from the night before their bodies were located.

Security footage showed the man leave the hotel with his children early in the morning. He returned several hours alone before leaving the hotel entirely.

The father was detained by law enforcement as he attempted to reenter the United States. He currently remains in federal custody in Los Angeles where he awaits charges.

He's been identified as Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, of Santa Barbara.

Investigators confirmed that the man arrested owned a surf school in Santa Barbara. A man with the same name is listed as a co-owner of Santa Barbara’s Lovewater Surf business along with his wife. The school teaches children and other beginners how to surf. Pictures on the business' website show two children matching the descriptions used by the Mexican investigators.

Santa Barbara police said Coleman's wife had reported her husband and children were missing for about 24 hours. She told police she was concerned for their wellbeing.

Multiple agencies are working together as part of a joint investigation. The FBI said it is working with Santa Barbara police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Mexican authorities.

Mexican officials say, if he’s charged and convicted in Mexico, he can face 60-120 years in prison.

Family members of the two young children have been contacted to positively identify their bodies.

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Karen Cruz-Orduña

Karen Cruz-Orduña is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Karen, click here.

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Travis Schlepp

Travis Schlepp is the Digital Content Director for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Travis, click here.

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