Santa Barbara surf school owner arrested on suspicion of killing his two toddlers in Mexico

Media briefing on arrest of murder suspect.
Baja California prosecutor Hiram Sánchez Zamora gives a media briefing Tuesday about the arrest of 40-year-old Matthew Taylor, a U.S. citizen and owner of a Santa Barbara surf school, on suspicion of killing both his children.
(Baja California Atty. Gen. Juan Guillermo Ruiz Hernández)

U.S. border authorities arrested the founder of a Santa Barbara surfing school on suspicion of killing his two young children in Mexico, the Baja California state attorney general said Tuesday.

Border agents arrested 40-year-old Matthew Taylor, a U.S. citizen, as he tried to cross from Tijuana into the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, according to Baja California officials.

Baja California prosecutor Hiram Sánchez Zamora said Taylor traveled to Rosarito, which is about a 30-minute drive south of Tijuana, and checked into a City Express hotel on Saturday with his 1-year-old son and his 3-year-old daughter.

Sánchez said Taylor left the hotel Monday at 2:54 a.m. with both children. Taylor returned to the City Express at 6:33 a.m. but without his children, according to Sánchez, who gave details at a media briefing Tuesday afternoon.


At 7:27 a.m., Baja California police received a 911 call about the discovery of the bodies of two children in diapers who had been repeatedly stabbed with a wooden stake. Their bodies were discovered by a farmworker near El Descanso ranch, located on the scenic road between Tijuana and Ensenada.

Sánchez said the girl had been stabbed about 12 times in the chest, and the boy had 17 stab wounds in a similar area.

Sánchez said agents with Baja California’s State Security and Investigation Guard alerted U.S. authorities that Taylor would probably be trying to make his way to the border and back to the United States. U.S. border officers stopped and arrested him as he approached the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Sánchez said.

Customs and Border Protection officials did not immediately respond to a request to omment.

State investigators in Mexico said Taylor runs the Lovewater Surf Co., a surfing school based in Santa Barbara, where he was born. According to the school’s website, Taylor earned a master’s degree in Spanish from UC Santa Barbara. He completed his undergrad studies at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, where he was on the surf team.

Mexican and U.S. authorities are working together to return the bodies of the children to California.

Fry writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


8:46 p.m. Aug. 10, 2021: The story has been updated with the full name of the surf school owner and information from Santa Barbara police.