Matt Coleman lived with his wife and two small kids on a quiet street not far from the Santa Barbara beaches where he surfed.
It was where Coleman, 40, was teaching his toddler son how to skateboard, and neighbors often saw his wife walking with their baby girl cradled in a carrier on her chest. Coleman’s office was Leadbetter Beach, Campus Point and other spots along the coast, where he operated a surf school and, for years, led a Bible study and surf group. Wetsuits often lay drying on the family’s lawn.
From the outside, it looked to be an idyllic life grounded in Coleman’s abiding Christian faith and deep love for his family. But the seemingly serene existence belied something horrific that took root in Coleman’s mind.
Badly shaken neighbors and friends have been struggling to make sense of the unimaginable: Earlier this month Coleman fled with 10-month-old Roxy and 2-year-old Kaleo to a Mexican beach town. Shortly afterward, he confessed to having killed his children with a spearfishing gun, U.S. authorities say.
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