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Family of Lemon Grove woman killed in stabbing shares their heartache

Rhona Fantone was 30-years-old
Rhona Fantone
Posted at 2:51 AM, Apr 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-25 11:41:02-04

LEMON GROVE (KGTV) -- For the first time, the family of the woman stabbed and killed in Lemon Grove shared their heartache over the loss of the mother of two.

Rhona Fantone was just 30-years-old when she was killed on April 16th. She was one of four sisters and a fraternal twin.

The incident happened on April 16th at her home in Lemon Grove. Investigators said they responded to a domestic dispute and when they got to the home, they heard screaming. Deputies forced their way inside the home. Inside, they found a man and woman both stabbed.

Fantone was pronounced deadly shortly after arrival to the hospital. Her husband, Jay Barcelon also sustained injuries and underwent surgery. Investigators believe Barcelon stabbed and killed his wife.

The family requested ABC 10News use Rhona Fantone’s maiden name. She was the mother of two young children, ages 9 and 11.

“She was always smiling, laughing,” said cousin Krissy Flauta. “You could never tell there [were] any issues.”

Rhoda said her family moved to the United States from the Philippines in the early 2000s. They are still in disbelief over Rhona’s death.

“She’s just so funny,” said her older sister, Rhoda Fantone. “We just laugh. Lots of laughs.”

Rhoda Fantone said although the kids know their mother is no longer here, it is difficult for them to process the news. “The youngest one keeps saying I’m going to call my mom,” she said.

The night she died, one of Rhona’s sisters dropped her off at her home to get her things and spend the night at her sister’s house. She even left her water bottle at her sister’s home with the intention to come right back to see her siblings. Rhona never made it.

“We wanted justice for her,” said her cousin Jodel Eria. “We wanted justice for her. We love her so much. We miss her every day.”

The family set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses and to help her two children financially.

Rhona was a certified nursing assistant at Sharp Coronado and had dreams to become a nurse.

Her family has been praying the last several nights together, which has provided some comfort. “Just seeing everyone get together and support Rhona’s family has been really great,” said Patrick Eria, who is married to Rhona’s cousin.

Flauta said if there is anything to learn, it’s to not deal with domestic violence alone. “If you’re in any trouble—relationship trouble—seek help,” she said.

Rhona’s two other sisters were too devastated to speak on camera, but Flauta shared the letters they wrote to her.

“I admire you, how strong you are, despite all the things you were going through,” the letter said in part. “You will forever be in my heart and mind.”

Barcelon is currently in the hospital. He faces a murder charge in connection with his wife’s death.