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Woman Told Sister She Wanted To Leave Abusive Relationship Hours Before Police Say Her Boyfriend Shot Her To Death

Lyberdee Cisneros’ sister said the victim expressed concern that suspected murderer Jayden Fernelius "would kill her one day" mere hours before she was found dead.

By Jill Sederstrom
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

Lyberdee Cisneros had been planning to get away from an abusive relationship—but she’d never get the chance.

Just hours after texting her sister that she wanted to make sure her boyfriend could “never hurt me or anyone else again” Cisneros was shot to death in the couple’s Salt Lake City home in the Downtown West Apartments, according to People.

Salt Lake City Police have arrested Cisneros’ boyfriend, Jayden Fernelius, 20, on charges of murder after finding Fernelius at the apartment on Sunday, just moments after the apparent shooting, according to a statement from authorities.

His clothes and hands had been covered with what authorities described as “significant amounts of what appears to be blood,” according to a probable cause statement obtained by the outlet.

Tyrese Cisneros told People her sister had been planning to flee the allegedly abusive relationship just before she died.

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"The last thing she had messaged me was a couple hours before she had passed away and word for word, she said, 'I'm going to see if I can rebuild a [legal] case on Jayden,'" Tyrese said. "’I want him put away [behind bars] so he can never hurt me or anyone else again.’ I had told her, 'I think you do whatever you need. Karma will get him,’ and a few hours later, she passed away."

According to Tyrese, Lyberdee had never mentioned wanting to leave Fernelius, whom she had dated for about two years, until that night.

“I think she told me because it was like a message from God that I had to fight for her,” she said. “She would have wanted everybody to feel like they weren’t the only one, and that she wanted to make a difference and to make sure Jayden would never hurt anybody again.”

Tyrese said Lyberdee had told her the relationship had been violent in the past.

A personal photo of Lyberdee Cisneros

"She thought she could survive everything but Jayden," she said. "She had expressed to me that she was worried that Jayden would kill her one day. He would point the gun at her and he would just degrade her and call her really mean names. And call her fat, ugly, crazy, would judge my family."

The two sisters had grown up in the foster care system and, according to Tyrese, Lyberdee had longed for somewhere where she felt she belonged.

Police were called to the couple’s apartment on Sunday around 8:25 p.m. after receiving a report that shots had been fired.

They arrived to find Lyberdee lying face down in the apartment with multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said.

Officers performed CPR and Lyberdee was rushed to a local hospital, where she later died.

Fernelius, who had remained at the scene along with another unidentified man, provided varying accounts about what happened, according to the affidavit. He initially told police he had heard a gunshot and ran in to find his girlfriend dead on the floor, then later said Lyberdee had been trying to hide his gun so he wouldn’t “do something stupid.”

He said the couple fought over control of the weapon and that after Lyberdee dropped it on the floor, she picked it up and shot herself in the neck.

Police, however, have disputed that account.

“The victim was shot multiple times in a manner not consistent with self-inflicted gunshot wounds,” authorities wrote in the affidavit.

Fermelius was taken into custody based on forensic evidence from the scene and statements made by witnesses, authorities said.

Oxygen.com reached out to police, who declined to provide any additional information about the allegations.

Fernelius had previously been arrested in September of 2021 after he allegedly tried to purchase an AK-47 from a man in a parking lot, KUTV reports. They had allegedly agreed on a price of $1,100 for the weapon and Fernelius handed the seller a stack of bills, but it turned out to be mostly $1 bills, according to court records obtained by the local news outlet.

When he tried to confront Fernelius, the man told police that Fernelius tried to back his car into him and then reached under his seat. The man said he feared Fernelius was reaching for a gun and took out his own weapon and fired two shots into the vehicle as it fled.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has yet to file charges in connection the incident, but police told the news outlet it was still under investigation.

Tyrese described her sister as a selfless person and said the family is now focused on getting justice for the slain 24-year-old.

That's all my sister wanted was to make sure everybody was okay,” she said.