Girl killed at Quick Sands Seashore in York, Maine; suspect in custody

Employee report
| Portsmouth Herald

YORK BEACH, Maine – The York Police Department responded shortly before 4 p.m. on Friday to several emergency calls from a man who attacked a woman behind a large rock on Short Sands Beach.

When the officers arrived, they took the man into custody and found the deceased woman dead behind a rock, according to a notice from the Maine State Police.

The victim was identified as Rhonda Pattelena, 35, of Bedford, Massachusetts, and the suspect was identified as Jeffrey Buchannan, 33, also of Bedford, Massachusetts. The two were domestic partners and had one child, police said.

Maine State Police detectives charged Buchannan with the murder at 9 p.m. Friday and took him to York County Jail. State and local authorities are confident that there is no ongoing risk to public safety.

The York Police Department and the Eliot Police Department helped with the investigation. An investigation team of Maine State Police detectives and crime scene technicians from the Maine State Police Evidence Response Team stayed at the scene after 10:00 p.m. and is expected to continue the investigation for the entire weekend, police said.

Shortly after 5:30 p.m., rescue workers were seen carrying the body, wrapped and lying on a stretcher, from the rocky waterline to a vehicle

Officials on the scene included York Police Department chief Charles Szeniawski, who said the investigation would be referred to Maine State Police. He referred questions about the investigation to the Maine State Police.

There is no threat to the community, Szeniawski said late Friday.

This report includes material from Dan Bancroft, Camille Fine, and Steven Porter.

When you need help

As a non-profit service, the following information is published with stories alleging domestic and / or sexual violence:

Help available in York County, Maine: Caring Unlimited, based in Sanford, Maine, provides personalized safety planning services to anyone affected by domestic violence and supports thousands across York County with free programs each year. The Caring Unlimited hotline is available 24 hours a day: 1-800-239-7298. More information at

Help available in Seacoast of New Hampshire: Haven trained confidential attorneys. The 24-hour hotline is (603) 994-SAFE (7233). Or, click the Chat Now button on the website at to connect to Haven’s confidential online chat service, Monday through Friday, 9 am-4pm.

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