Mother killed in San Diego murder-suicide endured months of harassment and threats, court records show

Flowers line a wall at a Paradise Hills home where a murder-suicide occurred Saturday. The father is suspected of killing his wife and their four children.
Flowers line a wall at a home in the Paradise Hills neighborhood of San Diego where a murder-suicide took place Saturday. The father is suspected of killing his wife and their four children.
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

In the days before her death, the harassment Sabrina Rosario’s husband had subjected her to since she filed for divorce became so extreme she decided to request a restraining order, she said in court documents.

The mother of four said her spouse, Jose Valdivia, would show up unannounced at her house in the Paradise Hills neighborhood of San Diego. He would sit in the car and watch their children play from a distance. In text messages, he said he would never leave her alone.

Less than two weeks before her death, Valdivia messaged her a picture of a handgun. More than half a dozen cans of beer and a bottle of alcohol were in the background of the image.

“This threat really scared me and I can no longer handle his abuse and harassment,” she said in court filings.


The restraining order was granted Friday. The next morning, Valdivia showed up at Rosario’s home and shot her, their four children and himself, police said. Only their 9-year-old son, Ezekiel Valdivia, survived. He remains in critical condition in a hospital.

Rosario and Valdivia separated in December, but the 29-year-old didn’t file for divorce until June, citing irreconcilable differences. Since then, Rosario said Valdivia had refused to leave her alone and became obsessed with the idea that she was with someone new.

On Nov. 8. Valdivia called Rosario 11 times in a row, according to cellphone records, and then showed up at her house unannounced later that night.

“You’re not home again,” he told her in a text. “Your sister is watching the boys.”


The next day he demanded to see their children, even though Rosario wrote in court filings that he had shown no interest in setting up a schedule to visit with them. When she told him he couldn’t come over, he sent her a text message that read: “I’m not leaving you alone and you know that.”

The proceedings were set to be finalized in December.

Winkley writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.