“He has spoken to his family on the phone,” a longtime family friend tells PEOPLE.
“It’s sinking in what happened, and he’s devastated. He has begged his family for forgiveness.”
The family’s fates shifted on August 7, when the father and his wife, Abby were packing up around the house for a family trip.
Authorities allege that Coleman abruptly put his two kids — Kaleo, 2, and Roxy, 10 months — into his van and drove away from their Santa Barbara, Calif., home.
Police then say that he then drove the children into Mexico.
Authorities allege that two days later, he took the kids to a ranch, where he killed them with a spearfishing gun and returned to his hotel a few hours later. He was then arrested when he attempted to cross the border back into the United States.
The father allegedly told police he was motivated by the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to an FBI criminal complaint.
This is a false conspiracy that believes that former president Donald Trump has secretly been battling a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles at the highest levels of political power and influence.
In the criminal 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.
Last month, Coleman was indicted on murder charges. He is currently eligible for the death penalty. Coleman is now being held in protective custody. He has yet to enter a plea.
Currently, Coleman’s family and friends are still processing the traumatic event and say it may take time before they extend an olive branch.
“I think there’s compassion there,” says the longtime family friend, “but forgiveness is going to take some time. What he did is just so horrific. It’s going to take a lot of time for everyone to wrap their heads around it.”
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