Dad Accused of Killing His Kids with Spear Gun over QAnon Theories ‘Had No Warning Signs,’ Says Friend

Calif. Surfer Matthew Taylor Coleman Called Children ‘His Treasures’ in Last Family Photo He Shared

To the people who knew Matthew Taylor Coleman, the events of this week have been shocking.

Coleman was arrested on Monday after he allegedly drove his 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter into Mexico over the weekend and killed them with a spearfishing gun.

According to charging documents, he allegedly told police he was motivated by the conspiracy theories of QAnon — believing that his kids had “serpent DNA” and needed to be killed to save the world.

Friends and family are trying to reconcile the sudden violence with the man who they knew as a devoted dad who regularly posted pictures of his family on social media.

“It just doesn’t compute,” Coleman’s friend Rachel Woodby tells PEOPLE. “This is not the man I know. But it’s absolutely disgusting. It makes me sick to my stomach. I’m horrified. I thought he was a good person.”

Woodby, whose son once took surfing lessons from Coleman, says that the 40-year-old surf instructor was affable, pleasant and very good with his students. “He was patient and kind,” she says. “This really comes out of the blue. He had no warning signs that he was capable of doing this.


PEOPLE has obtained a criminal complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court on Wednesday. In the 10-page complaint, FBI special agent Jennifer Bannon wrote that Coleman claimed to be “enlightened by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories and was receiving visions and signs revealing that his wife, A.C., possessed serpent DNA and had passed it on to his children.”

“M. Coleman stated that he believed his children were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them,” Bannon wrote.

In the documents, Bannon says that Coleman detailed how he killed his daughter first by shooting a spear gun in her heart. Then he allegedly killed his son, but he did not die right away, so he had to be shot several times. Coleman claimed that he hurt his hand in the process.

“M. Coleman stated that he knew it was wrong,” Bannon wrote, “but it was the only course of action that would save the world.”

Coleman was charged on Wednesday with foreign murder of U.S. nationals. He remains in federal custody without bond. He is currently being represented by a public defender, who did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Coleman, who has not yet entered a plea, will be arraigned on Aug. 31.

While the case progresses against Coleman, those who knew him are left grieving the toddlers’ deaths. “Such beautiful kids and such a senseless loss,” says Woodby. “It’s just so sad.”