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A Massachusetts man is accused of beating his domestic partner, a beloved mother of three, to death at a beach in Maine.
Officers with the York Police Department were called to Short Sands Beach in York shortly before 4 p.m. on Friday after receiving numerous 911 calls from bystanders reporting a man beating a woman on the beach behind a large rock, police stated in a news release over the weekend. When police arrived, they found the victim dead and arrested her alleged assailant: Jeffrey Buchannan, a 33-year-old resident of Bedford, Massachusetts. The victim was identified as 35-year-old Rhonda Pattelena, who was in a relationship with Buchannan and shared a child with him.
York Police worked with the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit – South and the Eliot Police Department on the investigation, and Buchannan was charged with murder at around 9 p.m. on Friday, police said. He was transported to York County Jail.
Pattelena died from blunt force injury to her head, according to an autopsy performed by the state medical examiner’s office, the results of which were released on Saturday, NBC Boston reports. Her manner of death has been deemed a homicide.
Pattelena was a single mother who leaves behind three children, ages 2, 14, and 17, according to a GoFundMe campaign launched in her honor. She was described as an angel whose life was “taken away due to domestic violence.”
“Rhonda was a beautiful, loving, caring, and generous person, she had such a big heart, she was always smiling and laughing. She was so full of life,” reads the campaign’s description.
The beach where Pattelena died was one of her favorite places to visit, according to Angela Patch, a friend of Pattelena’s who spoke to NBC Boston.
Pattelena’s loved ones are planning to gather in her honor for a candlelight vigil at Short Sands Beach on Friday, according to the GoFundMe page.
Buchannan is expected to appear at the York County Superior Court in Alfred on Tuesday afternoon, NBC Boston reports.
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