South Weddington Park victim had troubled life, friend says


Patrina Sabella, 32, of Rosamond, was found dead with multiple stab wounds on the baseball field at South Weddington Park around 2:20 a.m. Tuesday.

Police arrested Stephen Joanou Jr., 26, of Burbank, in connection to the murder. Investigators believe Sabella was killed sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. Detectives were not sure if Sabella was driven to the park or if she drove herself, but they are certain the stabbing happened at the park.

Authorities said they were led to Joanou after talking to witnesses. Joanou and Sabella were involved in a relationship. He was booked into the LAPD Valley Jail and is being held on $1 million bail.

People who knew Sabella said she had a kind heart, but a troubled life. She battled drug addiction for many years. Family friend Karen Myers said she wishes she could've done more to help Sabella.

"I think a lot of us have tried to encourage her to stop this relationship with this young man," said Myers.

As a former addict, Myers understands Sabella's nearly lifelong struggle with drug abuse. Myers said both of Sabella's parents were addicts, and she spent many of her early years living with an aunt.

"She was just a little girl with a really rough life," said Myers. "Unfortunately, it continued into her adulthood."

The bright spot in Sabella's life was a girl she gave birth to seven years ago.

"Patrina leaves behind a birth daughter. She had a child with my son. I adopted [the child] at birth," said Myers.

Myers said part of the reason she adopted the girl was to break the cycle of drug addiction and raise her with different values. She always allowed Sabella to maintain a friendship with the little girl.

If you have any information about the victim, suspect or circumstances surrounding this incident, you're urged to contact LAPD's North Hollywood Homicide Detectives at (818) 623-4075.

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