A California surf school owner allegedly killed his young children after being "enlightened by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories," federal officials said Wednesday.
Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, is facing charges of foreign murder in the killings of his 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter. According to a law enforcement affidavit filed in court, Coleman confessed to killing his children with a spearfishing gun in Mexico, telling FBI agents "he believed his children were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them."
The Santa Barbara man, who owned the Lovewater Surf School with his wife, told officials that he was "enlightened by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories" and believed his wife "possessed serpent DNA and had passed it onto his children."
"M. Coleman was asked whether he knew what he did was wrong," Special Agent Jennifer Bannon wrote in the affidavit. "M. Coleman stated that he knew it was wrong, but it was the only course of action that would save the world."
QAnon is a collective delusion that a Satan-worshipping cabal of global elites is operating a global child trafficking network. Some QAnon believers think the cabal is made up of lizard people, an older conspiracy theory with links to antisemitism.
In recent years, the Q belief system has inspired violence and crime. Believers of the delusion were part of the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and have engaged in other actions, including an armed standoff at the Hoover Dam and the hijacking of legitimate attempts to fight child sex trafficking.
It's unclear how long Coleman was entrenched in the delusion. His wife reported him and their two kids as missing after he took off with them in the family's Mercedes-Benz van on Saturday, according to the affidavit.
She told Santa Barbara police that the family had planned to go on a camping trip, but instead, Coleman had left with the kids and didn't tell her where he was going, according to the affidavit. The document notes that his wife was concerned because he did not have a car seat for either child, but she didn't think he would harm them.
She asked an officer to try to reach Coleman by phone, but he did not respond. She told police she did not have any problems with her husband and that they did not have an argument before he left.
On Monday, FBI agents located Coleman's phone in Mexico near the San Ysidro border crossing. At about 1 p.m., Coleman arrived at the border alone in the family van. Federal agents seized the vehicle and took Coleman in for questioning.
After waiving his Miranda rights, Coleman told agents he drove the kids to Mexico on Saturday and placed his baby daughter in a box because he didn't have a car seat. Around 5 a.m., he pulled off the side of the road in the area of Rancho del Cielo in Baja California and then allegedly shot both children with the spearfishing gun, according to the affidavit.
He then moved their bodies about 30 yards away and left them in some brush before driving a couple of miles to discard the spearfishing gun and bloody clothes in a creek. Officers with the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Municipal de Rosarito located the children's bodies with puncture wounds in their chests in the area Coleman described Monday morning. Mexican officials also located the spearfishing gun, bloody clothes, and a baby's blanket.
Coleman was booked at the Santa Ana, California, jail early Tuesday, according to the affidavit.
Information for a defense attorney was not immediately available.