A Californian has admitted to killing his two young children for fear they will become snake-like “monsters” in what prosecutors say is a double murder inspired by the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Matthew Taylor Coleman, a 40-year-old surf instructor from Santa Barbara, has been charged with the murder of two US nationals in the case, according to the US prosecutor’s office, which filed the charges Wednesday. He also faces aggravated murder charges in Mexico.
Coleman took his two-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter to Mexico and killed them with a “speargun,” according to an affidavit filed by the FBI in the case. He was then arrested at the border on his way back to the United States, where he allegedly told an FBI agent there that he had been “enlightened” by the QAnon and Illuminati plots.
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Prosecutors say he confessed to killing the children because he believed they inherited “snake DNA” from his wife, whom he left in California. He said he was afraid they would turn into “monsters,” so he killed them, according to court documents.
The heart-wrenching case began on Saturday, when Coleman and his wife were packing the family van for a camping trip with their young children.
Coleman’s wife told investigators he suddenly put the children in the van and left without telling her where he was going. She was identified in court documents by her initials CA.
AC contacted Santa Barbara Police to tell them she was worried about her family because her husband was not responding to text messages, her children did not have a car seat, and she did not know where they were going. . She added that she and her husband had not had any arguments before she left, and that she did not think they were in danger.
Authorities treated the case as a parental abduction and used Apple’s Find My iPhone feature to track down Coleman in Rosarito, Mexico, where he checked into a hotel later on Saturday, court documents show.
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Video footage showed Coleman leaving the hotel with the children before dawn on Monday, then returning alone later that morning, Mexican authorities said.
Coleman allegedly took the children out and shot them with a speargun, according to the criminal complaint. A farm worker later found their bodies in a ditch near Rosarito.
Mexican officials say the children were each stabbed at least a dozen times and a bloodstained wooden stake was also found at the scene. The speargun was also found nearby.
The FBI intercepted Coleman at a border checkpoint near San Ysidro, where he allegedly confessed to the murders in an interview.
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“He explained that he was enlightened by the QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories and that he received visions and signs that his wife, AC, possessed snake DNA and passed it on to his children.” , wrote the FBI agent in an affidavit.
She added that Coleman admitted to cutting his hand off with the spear he used to kill his children.
“Coleman said he knew it was wrong, but it was the only solution that would save the world,” the agent wrote.
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Coleman’s claim about the snake’s DNA appears to be a reference to the so-called “lizard people,” a decades-old baseless conspiracy theory about reptilian aliens who allegedly infiltrated Earth and took control of various governments. .
The Lizard People Theory has since been incorporated into the newer and larger fantasy universe of QAnon, a mega conspiracy theory rooted in the false belief that cannibalistic pedophiles secretly run Hollywood and the US government. The pseudo-religious movement revolves around the idea that former US President Donald Trump is a warrior for God who secretly worked to root out these cannibalistic pedophiles from government. It has since swelled to encompass a wide range of smaller conspiracy theories about dark cabals, vaccines, and even lizards.
A Seattle man has been charged with killing his brother with a sword in 2019, in another act of violence linked to the Lizard People’s conspiracy.
“God told me he was a lizard,” the man, Buckey Wolfe, reportedly told 911 dispatchers at the time. The Daily Beast then discovered a wealth of posts about QAnon and the Proud Boys on their social media accounts.
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QAnon has inspired several acts of violence and terrorism in recent years, including the deadly January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol aimed at overturning the outcome of a democratic election. Among those killed that day was Ashli Babbitt, a former U.S. Air Force veterinarian who appeared to have been radicalized by QAnon’s beliefs on social media. Babbitt was shot dead by a Capitol police officer as he tried to enter an area where lawmakers were sheltering from the crowd.
The conspiracy theory has also spread to other countries, including Canada. Canadian Ranger reservist Corey Hurren, who pleaded guilty to pushing his truck through the doors of Rideau Hall last year, used to post articles on QAnon online, reports Vice News.
Elsewhere, a British man is said to have attacked his pregnant wife in the bathtub due to QAnon-inspired fear that the US and Chinese governments will come looking for him.
The FBI first identified QAnon as a potential national terrorist threat in 2019, and it warned earlier this summer that believers could commit more acts of real-world violence after their long-promised calculation, called The Storm, did not materialize.
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Major social media companies have tried to start the movement on their platforms, but the QAnon community has continued to thrive through coded language and dark web discussion groups.
Coleman ran a surf school, called Lovewater, in Santa Barbara, officials said.
Coleman, his wife and children feature prominently in photos on the site and on various social media pages. His personal and work social media accounts did not feature any articles on QAnon.
It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. It is also not known if Coleman has a history of mental illness.
– With files from the Associated Press