Jennie Duffin was not able to open her Oceanside café on Sunday. But some of her friends staged their own Mother’s Day tribute to her on the Jennie’s Café patio that runs along Coast Highway.
They brought their own donuts and coffee and talked about the former waitress and mother of three who opened her namesake café three years ago.
According to a person close to the situation, Jennie’s Café had permanently closed its doors four days earlier on Wednesday, May 10.
The next day, May 11, Jennie and two others were found dead in her Vista home. The sheriffs reported they came to Duffin’s home at 10:30 Thursday morning because of a call from a concerned neighbor. They declared that Duffin, 38, Jessica Conoscenti, 33, and Ulises Mondo, 28 were all found dead at the scene. Sheriff deputy Lt. Greg Rylaarsdam said foul play was not suspected because it appeared all three had succumbed to self-administered drug overdoses.
“I loved this woman for all she was,” writes Kathryn Gallegos on the Jennie’s Café website. “She was amazing…NOT SURE HOW TO WRAP MY HEAD AROUND THE WAY YOU LEFT US, BUT YOUR IN GODS HANDS AND IM GOING TO PRAY THAT HE GIVES YOU A BIG HUG FROM ME.”
The insider who did not want to be named reports that Duffin left behind three children, aged 10, 11 and 12. He said the father had taken custody of them earlier this year.
Before she opened Jennie’s Cafe, Duffin was a waitress at the now shuttered Grubby’s Diner across the street. “She pretty much built it with her own sweat and blood and labor from all her friends,” says the insider. Duffin opened Jennie’s Café at 1001 South Coast Highway in a 2,200 square foot building that was formerly home to a Cuban eatery called Azafran.
Jennie’s Cafe initially focused on breakfasts but stayed open later after she secured a beer and wine license in June 2015.
The insider reports that the sheriff deputies were made aware of a resident living near Duffin’s house on the 200 block of Vista Glen Lane who was known to the neighborhood as a dealer of hard drugs. “He was getting evicted just a few days before. And what do you know, he skipped town just before this all went down. All the neighbors were getting ready to go after him with pitchforks. I know the cops are looking for him.”
Lt. Greg Rylaarsdam who had been assigned to the case did not return a request for comment.
The insider says that he suspects the three deceased were victims of a “bad batch.” The insider says that he knew that Duffin was struggling to cover the restaurant’s $4,700 monthly rent and other expenses needed to keep Jennie’s Café afloat.