Jeffrey Buchannan, 33, of Bedford, Massachusetts has been charged with murder after Maine police found his partner Rhonda Pattelena, dead behind a rock on Short Sands Beach
Police said Rhonda Pattelena, 35, of Bedford, Mass. was beaten to death with a rock by the father of her two-year-old son on beach in Maine when he saw her ‘make a hand gesture to another man’
Cops found the victim after calls from several witnesses about a man assaulting a woman behind the rocks at Short Sands Beach on Friday
Video surveillance footage recorded by a nearby business captured the alleged assault, appearing to show Buchannan strike Pattelena while her back is turned to him, followed by several more strikes
The video evidence reportedly, was buttressed by multiple witness accounts
The state medical examiner’s office on Saturday ruled Pattelena’s death a homicide caused by blunt force injury to the head Buchannan was charged with murder and is in custody at York County Jail
Pattelena had three children, with the two oldest being 17 and 14 from previous relationships
She and Buchannan shared a two-year-old son together
Friends didn’t approve of Pattelena’s relationship with Buchannan, citing his past violence towards the mother
Buchannan is being held without bail, and ordered to receive a mental health evaluation
A Massachusetts man has been charged with beating the mother of his child to death at her favorite beach in Maine on Friday.
Police received multiple 911 calls reporting a man assaulting a woman behind a large rock at Short Sands Beach in the town of York at around 4pm. Arriving officers detained Jeffrey Buchannan, 33, of Bedford, Massachusetts and found his girlfriend Rhonda Pattelena, 35, dead.
Buchannan allegedly told officers that he had ‘blacked out’ after seeing Pattelena make a gesture to another man on the beach. A rock was found at the scene, believed to be the murder weapon.
The state medical examiner’s office on Saturday ruled Pattelena’s death a homicide caused by blunt force trauma to the head.
Buchannan was charged with murder and is in custody at York County Jail.
The murder suspect made his first court appearance at the York County Superior Court in Alfred.
His hands were folded and resting on the table, as he looked around the room frequently. Buchannan nodded his head when the judge asked him to do so during the arraignment hearing. He didn’t enter a plea.
York County Superior Court Judge Wayne R. Douglas ordered that Buchannan be held without bail, and he ordered that a mental health evaluation be conducted. The judges said he expects the matter will proceed to a grand jury.
According to an affidavit obtained by Portsmouth Herald, witnesses reported seeing Buchannan leave the scene of the attack on foot before he was apprehended by police nearby.
Buchannan of Bedford, Massachusetts, is charged with killing Rhonda Pattelena in a public attack that police described as a case of domestic violence. The horrific scene unfolded behind a rock on the beach, prompting multiple 911 calls to York police on Friday.
Buchannan reportedly told police that he had come to York with his girlfriend.
He says he saw a man running toward them at the beach, and then saw Pattelena making hand gestures behind him, the affidavit states.
He felt threatened and then ‘blacked out,’ the document adds. Buchannan said that he only recalled breathing heavily and seeing his girlfriend lying on the ground, before he walked away.
Buchannan according to affidavit, declined to speak further with police about his memory of the alleged assault, the affidavit states.
However, officials noted, Buchannan had physically attacked Pattelena on at least one occasion.
Video surveillance footage from a nearby business appears to have recorded the alleged assault, buttressed by multiple witness accounts. The videos appear to show Buchannan strike Pattelena while her back is turned to him, followed by several more strikes.
Officers from York PD and the Eliot Police Department documented the scene and collected evidence, including a rock that appeared to have been used as a weapon in the assault, according to the affidavit.
A GoFundMe for the mother stated that 35-year-old was the mother of three sons, with the two oldest being 17 and 14. She and Buchannan shared a two-year-old son together.
‘Rhonda was a beautiful, loving, caring, and generous person, she had such a big heart, she was always smiling and laughing,’ said Pattelena’s close friend, Melissa Matranga. ‘She was so full of life.’
Matranga didn’t approve of Pattelena’s relationship with Buchannan, alleging that he had previously been violent towards the mother.
She didn’t know they had gotten back together, Matranga told the Boston Globe.
Officials said that Buchannan had physically attacked Pattelena on at least one occasion.
He pled guilty in 2017 to assaulting her and kidnapping her and her two sons from previous relationships, according to court records.
For that particular case of domestic violence Buchannan was sentenced to two years in prison.
The Essex district attorney’s office said that Pattelena alerted a State Police trooper at Logan Airport that Buchannan was not letting her or her children leave her Lawrence home.
Matranga shared that she and Pattelena used ‘ostrich’ as a code word in case the mother ever found herself in trouble. She believes her friend was attacked suddenly.
‘I don’t believe for one minute she would have just sat there and not done anything,’ Matranga said.
‘I believe in my heart, she would have texted me.’
Pattelena’s sister, Jessica, said that the victim who was taking online classes to become a licensed practical nurse, moved Bedford with her sons approximately three months ago.
‘She was an amazing mother and she was raising some amazing kids. She always did her best for them,’ Jessica added. ‘She had the most beautiful soul you could ever meet. All she ever wanted to do was to help people.’
‘She wanted to better their lives and she loved the school system there.’