20 years later, killing of Nipomo father and son remains a cold case

Posted at 8:47 PM, Aug 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-22 23:47:05-04

Wednesday marked 20 years since a Nipomo father and son were gunned down in a bean field. To this day, the case remains unsolved.

"The speedway was running that night, it’s loud, a big race track, so because of that, the gunfire wasn’t heard by anyone," said Aaron Nix, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy.

At 9 p.m. on August 22, 1998, Angel Cosio Sr. and his 14-year-old son were shot and left for dead at the Wineman Ranch on the southern edge of San Luis Obispo County.

"We were dispatched to a report of a downed subject, downed homicide victim," Nix recalled. "What had basically happened was, the field workers, as the day ended they were driving out to 166, they came upon Mr. Cosio’s van, looked at him and realized he’d been shot."

Both Cosios lay dead in the field. The person or people responsible had vanished.

"Angel Cosio Sr. was one of the ranch managers at the ranch there. He supervised many of the workers there and grew garbanzo beans on site. So because of that, he always had a lot of cash on him."

It was also common for Cosio Sr. to be armed. In fact, investigators believe he fired off at least one shot at his killer before he died.

When authorities found the victims, Cosio Sr. still had cash, at least some of it, in his possession. If the killing was a robbery, it was not successful.

"There was no immediately presentable suspect because Angel Sr. was a well liked man with no enemies and well-liked by his boss," Nix said.

A woman who lived on the ranch before the murders said the Cosios delivered produce to her, and she called them kind. She declined to be interviewed on camera, but says she suspects gangs from Cosio’s home country of Mexico may be responsible.

Authorities did release the description of a suspect vehicle: a new model dark Mitsubishi Eclipse observed at the scene earlier that day, but absent when the bodies were discovered.

"Keep in mind, 1998, there was no social media," Nix pointed out. "A story would be part of the news cycle for a couple or three days and then go away, so unless there was a constant follow up it fell from the public’s conscious fairly quickly."

Two decades have passed and any new leads are non-existent.

With each sunset, hope that this case will be solved and that justice will be served, begins to fade.

Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to contact the SLO County Sheriff’s Office. No tip is too small.