Family mourns death of woman shot by boyfriend

Sylvia Cosio.

PALMDALE – Earlier this month, a 47-year-old man shot his young girlfriend in the head before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.

Rafael Dominguez Valadez died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his east Palmdale apartment on Sept. 7, and Sylvia Cosio was rushed to the hospital clinging to life.

Sylvia passed away a week later, her family members said.

“I’m happy that she is at peace now, but I wish this didn’t happen to her,” said Sylvia’s aunt, Anne Kelley-Cosio. “She had her whole life ahead of her and it was stolen from her.”

Hoping to save other young women who might be going through similar situations, family members are speaking out about the circumstance that led to the death of the 25-year-old mother of four.

“Sylvia was a beautiful young girl who was in a lot of turmoil, and she didn’t live long enough to come out of that turmoil,” said Sylvia’s other aunt, Myrna Kelley-Cosio.

Myrna said her niece’s life had been in turmoil for several years before she met the man who took her life.  She said, before Rafael, Sylvia had been in an extremely abusive relationship with her children’s father.

“He was always beating on her, he had punctured her lung, he had taken her out of her house and beaten her from head to toe naked,” Myrna said, adding that Sylvia was constantly in the hospital with injuries inflicted by the ex-boyfriend. “For the past five years I was sitting on the edge of my seat worried about Sylvia.”

She said the ex-boyfriend was jailed this year for beating on Sylvia, and Sylvia was scheduled to testify against him in a Ventura courtroom this month.

“Sylvia, of course, didn’t want to testify… she would never say it was him who beat her, even though the police knew,” Myrna said. “And then this other guy came into her life, and this one just straight took her out.”

Sylvia, a Ventura resident, had known Rafael for less than two months before the shooting; she met the 47-year-old man while she was in Palmdale checking on her family members, Myrna said.

“At first he was very good to her, but then very quickly he showed a different side to him,” Myrna said. “He was very possessive over Sylvia.”

She said, by the time family members became aware of the man’s dark side, he was flashing a gun and threatening to kill Sylvia and her family.

“He pulled a gun on my sister (Sylvia’s mother) and had her scared and frightened for her life,” Myrna said. “He was frightening her and at the same time telling her he was going to kill Sylvia.”

“This guy was running around saying he was going to shoot Sylvia for at least a week, which is amazing to me, because nobody ever said anything,” Myrna continued.

On the night of the shooting, Sylvia, Rafael and another female had been involved in an argument over an iPod, and then Sylvia and the other female locked themselves inside the room that Rafael rented in the Palmdale apartment, Myrna said. She said the man who was renting the room to Rafael, and the man’s toddler, were also at the apartment at the time.

When Rafael could not get inside his room, he became angry and began shooting into the bedroom window from outside the apartment, Myrna said.

“Everybody else made it out of the apartment except for Sylvia,” Myrna said. She said her niece ran into another room and locked the door instead.

“He shot the door down, Sylvia was in the closet hiding from him,” Myrna said.

Detectives said Rafael shot Sylvia at least twice before shooting and killing himself.

Family members rushed to Sylvia’s side as she spent the last week of her life on life support at the hospital.

“All her aunts and uncles came out from everywhere, her brothers and sisters, and her mother,” said Anne. “I could hardly believe what I was seeing because it was so horrifying.”

“Sylvia received profound bullet injuries to the head, and we were told Sylvia was not going to recover,” Myrna said. “They said it was just a matter of time before the family needed to make the decision to stop medical care.”

Sylvia passed away shortly after midnight on September 15, a day after she was scheduled to testify against the abusive boyfriend from her prior relationship, Myrna said.

“She didn’t have a chance to live a full life and know what it was like to really meet somebody who cared about her, who would protect her,” Myrna said. “She never had a chance at a decent life.”

“This should be a lesson to all young people and to everyone out there, if you’re being beat on or threatened, that is not real love,” Anne said. “You need to report it to protect yourself. You’re worth it to have a good relationship and to not be abused.”

Sylvia is being laid to rest in her grandmother’s grave in Glendale where she was raised.

  28 comments for “Family mourns death of woman shot by boyfriend

  1. sarmen
    March 22, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I knew her, she was my neighbor when I was 14. Sadly I cant remember what she looked like then. god rest her soul. and hopefully the kids end up better than what she had to go through.

  2. Michael
    October 28, 2012 at 2:23 am

    You people that comment and say things about a mother of four are a joke. It makes me laugh I’m only on this site because my cousin was kill by some dumb ass lady that turned in front of him. I’m laughing because I know who you people are you are losers with no life,sad your husbands look at porn all day on line because you are good for nothing low Down scum of the earth people that live to Judge other people. All of you that have spoke bad of this young woman and made her family feel worse. Hang your self. Now that is a betterment of Palmdale

  3. Ex-Boyfriends Ex-Wife
    October 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I have two children and was married to the man that they are referring to as the “ex-boyfriend”. Although I went through similar experiences with him, I am not going to sit here and let the Cosio family blame everything on him. Sylvia was a drug addict, fully affiliated with the gang, and prostitution. I feel horrible that this has happened to her, as it also affects my children since they knew her. However, lets not play the innocent card. If both the “ex-boyfriend” and Sylvia had gotten their lives in order, got sober, and tried to be parents to the children, she might not be where she is at. Funny how you are all referring to her four children, when the family was so quick to take them away from her.

    May you rest in peace Sylvia, my children did admire you, and thank you for being apart of their lives.

  4. Anne&Myrna Kelley-Cosio
    October 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    You want to speak about whats wrong with our society ? Start by commenting on how to fix our society!How can we as a people prevent this INFAMIA from happening again.What about having stricter gun laws so that these sick individuals are’nt able to obtain a gun around the corner of a liquor store. If you think this could only happen to Sylvia because she wore her daughters name on her chest or had a tatt.saying LOVE on her tiny wrist. Think again blame it on her boyfriends age too if it better justifies it for you . Just remember anyone can obtain a GUN!For the simple fact! that theyre so easy to get!!! It can be your niece next month. With or without a tatt.or a boyfriend 47.”PLEASE FREAK’N WAKE UP AMERICA” A GUN KILLED SYLVIA. Tears in heaven / MYRNA COSIO KELLEY

    • Karin
      October 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      A gun did not kill Sylvia, a crazed man did. If he couldn’t get his hands on a gun, he would have used something else. And you really think that some law would have stopped him from getting a gun if he really wanted one?

      The problem with society is that abuse is treated like some dirty little secret. The victims feel shame that somehow they brought this on themselves. That they did something wrong. It is spoken about in whispers, behind closed doors, hiding away.

      • Anne&Myrna Kelley-Cosio
        October 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm

        Of course a crazed man killed Sylvia, but not with his own hands with a gun! If he had not had access to that gun Sylvia might still be alive. If you don’t want to accept the reality that we need stricter gun laws then you are denying the danger of guns themselves. It is untrue that someone who shoots and kills another person in a moment of rage or insanity would do the same thing without that gun. Of course there would still be murders by other forms but there would be many killings that were prevented if we didn’t have so many guns on the streets. Think about it a trigger is just too easy to pull, and guns in our society are too easy to obtain. There are many individuals who have shot and killed someone in an instant and then regretted it the next second. Let’s be honest about this! My niece may still be alive today if that gun hadn’t been so easy for that bastard to get. And maybe not, maybe he would’ve done it anyway, but what if that wasn’t the case??? If that was your family member wouldn’t you wish that our gun obsessed society wasn’t so full of firearms??? That maybe, just maybe your family member would’ve had a chance to survive? Please if you want to make your pro-gun arguments go do it somewhere else, this is MY NIECE we are talking about and that gun DID kill her. Guns are not the answer.

    • Stinger
      October 4, 2012 at 6:25 am

      As much as I am sorry for your loss, I’m afraid that I must concur with Karin on this one; the gun was merely a tool used by the perpetrator for the crime. Had there been no gun available, then another tool would have been used to commit the act.

  5. Yo Mama
    September 30, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Damn shame…

  6. Jamarcus
    September 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Typical hoodrat

    • Anne&Myrna Kelley-Cosio
      October 9, 2012 at 6:31 am

      You are a hateful person I cannot imagine speaking about someones family member like that after they were MURDERED. You should be ashamed of yourself, of course you go on the internet saying things you would never say to my family’s face. Please go spread your hate elsewhere you didn’t have the honor of knowing Sylvia. You and the rest of the people that have made hateful comments are ignorant. I truly believed in the goodness of humankind until recently. Nothing but hate its disgusting. I don’t understand.

  7. Quigley
    September 27, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    There are now four children without their mother, and obviously a POS father…how bout we channel our energy towards them…sure hope this family steps up so they don’t have a repeat. Good luck to you all.

  8. BamBam1120
    September 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Ignorance is bliss… tattoos of a name aren’t gang related, are you guys so ill-informed, you speak ill of the dead? As for the comment of not being successful because of tattoos, that is laughable… I know many people who have tattoos everywhere, and are extremely successful… if you don’t know this girl, or her life story, who are we to judge?

    • CaptainObvious
      September 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      @bambam: OK, fill us in. Where was she working? What career did she have? Tell us about her success story before she got tied up with the wrong people. In certain industries,sure, tattoos are accepted. If I’m a business owner in the real world, I don’t want my female employese having an exposed tattoo on her chest. Just sayin’. Not “judging” her.

      • CaptainObvious
        September 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm


  9. Anne&Myrna Kelley-Cosio
    September 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Just want to thank the people for your kind words and support. Also Antelope valley times for telling a little part of our nieces story . Our niece is gone but if youre reading this story and are involved in a violent relationship of any sort! Get away! Dont wait til its too late . May you rest in peace SYLVIA / Tears in heaven

    • Sophia
      September 30, 2012 at 8:48 am

      I am so sorry to hear about Sylvia. May peace come to your family. Please know that sometimes people with short lives came into this world because their life was meant to make a statement to the world. There is a soulplan that a soul decides on before their birth, a mission they come here to complete. I am sure that Sylvia’s life has meaning, and her story is one that was designed to help so many other women that can lead beautiful lives and help other women onoe they hear Sylvia’s story and understand how serious domestic violence is. Sylvia will live on. Your family may be healed by getting involved in what you can see is Sylvia’s life purpose. Start looking for opportunities to help others experiencing this. Tell her story. You are her voice here on Earth. Her death is not in vain. May peace come to your hearts. Grieve and mourn and tell your story often. Take care of yourselves, live life in moderation and peace and make sure that her voice continues on.

      Much love and hugs and prayers sent your way.

      • Anne&Myrna Kelley-Cosio
        October 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm

        Thank you for standing by Sylvia through your beautiful and kind words. If by this tragedy we could reach out and save even one life it would mean so much to us. Your thoughts written here are more comforting than you can know for us as a family. We appreciate your effort to extend these words our way and your advice is well taken. We will keep telling Sylvia’s story and hope to reach as many people as possible and maybe another horror can be prevented. Thank you again

  10. New2AV
    September 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    So judging by the image and tattoo she doesn’t look like someone that stayed away from gang life. Live by the sword die by the sword.

    • Anne&Myrna Kelley-Cosio
      September 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      If youre gonna speak about something you know nothing about please keep your comments to yourself . Sylvia was not gang affiliate never has been this man was a sick individual. And obviously you know nothing about Sylvia to make such an insensitive statement. The tatt.on Sylvia’s chest was her daughters name . Got that! Myrna Cosio-Kelley

      • WhatWhat
        September 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm

        Completely agree with the first comment. Tattoos on the upper chest are Gang related, this incudes childrens name and the like, and yes, I in fact know a great deal about this. Live by the sword, die by the sword is right. I wonder what her rap sheet looks like.

        • S. Parker
          September 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

          A beautiful young lady was murdered by her boyfriend and you are wondering what the young lady’s rap sheet looks like? You are an ignorant insensitive fool!

          I would wonder what your rap sheet looks like, but I don’t think they arrest people for being stupid. You are everything that is wrong with our society right now!

          • [Removed] Paleez
            September 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm

            I didn’t know this woman, or if she was affiliated with gangs. I’m sorry for the family’s loss. However, if the chest tattoos aren’t gang related, they certainly limit her chances of being successful in the real world. They are viewed by most as the very least,especially on women. You can say looks don’t matter but they do. Her own family said she “was in a lot of turmoil.” I take that to mean she made some poor choices. A rap sheet can also be evidence of poor choices, including the people one hangs out with. What can a 25yr old in turmoil have in common with a 47 year old. Apparently that was another poor choice to me.

          • WhatWhat
            September 28, 2012 at 9:02 am

            I don’t have a rap sheet, but I know plenty of people who do. And I was not speaking ill of her, I was simply supporting a previous statement from a fellow commenter. And I’m everything that is supposedly what wrong with tho society, then society would have no problems. You don’t know anything about me, so why don’t you keep your personal opinions about me to yourself. And stupid is a stupid does right? You the pot calling the kettle black? But, I’m no kettle, so you must have been looking in the mirror.

      • New2AV
        October 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm

        Yea and 90% of gangbangers have their kid or kids names tattooed all over them. Or instead of wasting that money on tats because obviously they do it cause they are too high to remember their kids names maybe they should put that money in a college fund.

        But you people don’t think like that. You think a old english tattoo of your kids name on your chest or neck is some respectable thing to do.

    • d
      October 4, 2012 at 9:37 am

      First and for most this is a tragic act and some of you sick ppl are on here discussing her criminal history. Are you freaking serious. How would you feel if this happened to your family member and people were on here saying how they were a criminal or “Hood rat”. YOU should all be very ashamed of what you se when you look in the mirror. I dont know this girl but just the fact that she is gone in such a horrid manner hurts my heart. No one knows who they meet until they get to know them she ran into the wrong person. This could of happened to anyone of us on here and this article could be about us. The fact that she has a tat on her chest does not indicate that she was a gang memeber unless it was gang related. I have my sons names tatted on me so am I a gang member…no…. it means I love my children and i’m not ashamed to make it a permanent statement. To the family I sorry for your lose…For you ignorant idiots follow her murders example and shot your self in the head….

      • New2AV
        October 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

        It wouldn’t happen in my family cause we were raised with common sense and values and what the hell is it with people tatting their kids names on them. Maybe that money could better used towards doing something for the kid. When the kid grows up and finds out he has no money saved for him to goto college or start a life at least he can look at his daddy and thank him for getting his name tattoed on your body. Look further than the moment bro and smarten up.

  11. D.Nep
    September 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Homeboy deserves death…Heart hurts the family of Sylvia Cosio.

  12. A tear fell
    September 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I read about this story earlier in the month, I’m so sorry the her family’s loss!
    May she be in peace, may the Lord bring peace to her family!

Comments are closed.