Gabriela and Mario Luis Cossio had a beautiful home, a good business and lots of family and friends in Cuernavaca, Mexico. But when kidnappings began and a friend of theirs disappeared, they decided it was time to leave.
Their journey ended in Glen Rose. Since moving to the United States on an investment visa and settling in town in 2006, they have put down new roots here.
In addition to opening La Rosita, which offers homemade tortillas, breakfast burritos and lunch items, the Cossios have become active in the community. They are members of the Glen Rose/Somervell County Chamber of Commerce and are part of its “Shop Local” campaign and participate in Christmas in Action and Friends of the Brazos. They have catered functions for the Chamber and for the Somervell History Foundation.
The Cossios' daughter, Luisa, graduated from Glen Rose High School in 2007 and is a Presidential Honor Student at Tarleton State University.
And the Glen Rose City Council Monday night approved Luis’ appointment to the city’s Preservation Board. The Cossios have done their own part to preserve a piece of Glen Rose, having returned their historic English Tudor-style home across from Big Rocks Park to its original architecture.
Yesterday morning, a stream of locals entered the bakery on Barnard Street for their morning “fix” of coffee and a breakfast burrito. The Cossios know many of their customers by name.
“We have made so many friends here,” said Gabriela, who is of Dutch descent and grew up in Mexico City. “It was meant to be because everything fell into the right place.”
The Cossios began working on their house last June. Luis said he hauled 25 tons of junk and debris from the property. They occupied the home in December. The structure includes a “secret room” — a cellar down some very steep stairs. It's equipped with a sump pump to keep water from collecting in the sump pit.
Luis is a jack-of-all trades who has done many different things over the years. He's run a mango ranch, worked as a jewelry maker, designed the signs for the Mexico City Zoo, built wooden dashboards for Volkswagen and launched the furniture factory. He has been renovating the Tudor house himself with beautiful results.
Although they are relatively recent transplants, the Cossios have been coming to Texas for many years. Luis, who’s also from Mexico City, had friends in Dallas and he and his father collected guns. They regularly traveled to Dallas for gun club shows. They also had a longtime friend in Iredell who introduced them to Glen Rose.
During one trip to Texas, Gabriela, who was 27 weeks pregnant at the time, had a problem with her pregnancy. Luisa was born at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas and was three months premature. She did well, however, and they went back to Cuernavaca. Luisa even got a black belt in Taekwondo, a popular Korean martial art, at age 15 and a worldwide certification — the youngest person at the time to do so.
But Cuernavaca — the capital of the state of Morelos situated 53 miles south of Mexico City — was changing. The city had attracted a large expatriate population of former diplomats, business people and artists, some of them very wealthy. Kidnappings for ransom became so common that by the late 1990s law enforcement authorities referred to Cuernavaca as the “kidnapping capital of Mexico.” One the victims was a friend of the Cossios.
“He called his wife and said, 'I've just been shot, but I'm okay,'” Gabriela recalled. That was the last anyone heard from him.
The kidnappers called his family and asked for outrageous sums of money. Then the calls stopped.
“To this day they have not found him,” Luis said.
“Growing up in Mexico City was a privilege for us,” Gabriela added. “We had a very nice Mexico. We were very fortunate to have lived in the Mexico we did.”
But they were ready to leave and sold Luisa on the idea. It was a move they all were willing to make.
“I was about to turn 50,” Luis recalled. “We had steady jobs. I had a very well known furniture factory. We had four cars, two gardeners — we had a terrific life, friends all over the place. And we just sold everything and came for the adventure.”
And many folks in Glen Rose are glad they did.