A 35-year-old Massachusetts mother of three was killed on Friday — allegedly by her boyfriend, who's accused of beating her to death in broad daylight on a beach in Maine, say police.
On Friday, just before 4 p.m., a number of beachgoers at Short Sands Beach in York called 911 to report a man assaulting a woman behind a large rock on the beach, the Maine State Police say in a release.
Officers from the York Police Department rushed to the scene and immediately detained the man, identified as Jeffrey Buchannan, 33, of Bedford, Massachusetts.
They found the victim, Rhonda Pattelena of Bedford, Mass., dead behind a rock.
The Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit was called in to assist York Police with the investigation.
Pattelena and Buchannan were domestic partners and had one child together, police say in the release.
Police have not released any other details about the case.
Buchannan was arrested and at 9 p.m. Friday, Maine State Police Detectives charged him with murder.
He was taken to the York County Jail, where he remains held.
"No bail has been set," Maine State Police spokesperson Shannon Moss told SeaCoastOnline.com "That will not be discussed until after his first court appearance. A date has not been set yet for that."
It is unclear whether Buchannan has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf, and he has not yet entered a plea.
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As authorities continue to investigate, Pattelena's family, friends and her three children are left mourning her untimely death.
"On Friday, March 26, 2021, heaven gained an angel," Melissa Matranga wrote in a GoFundMe set up to defray funeral costs and to help support Pattelena's three children.
"My best friend Rhonda's life was taken away due to domestic violence," she wrote. "Her life was taken too soon and we are all still in shock."
Pattelena was a mother who leaves behind "three beautiful boys," Bobby 17, Noah 14, and Jaxson, 2, Matranga wrote.
"Rhonda was a beautiful, loving, caring, and generous person, she had such a big heart, she was always smiling and laughing," Matranga wrote. "She was so full of life."
Matranga said Pattelena's family hopes to have a bench in her memory installed at York Beach, "her favorite place to be," she said in an update on the GoFundMe page.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
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