Community mourns unexpected death of popular Roseville teen

A Roseville family is preparing to bury their 16-year-old son.

A popular honor student and athlete, Joseph Manfreda died of natural causes at home Tuesday.

It was an emotional scene at Roseville High School Wednesday as family and classmates gathered to remember Joseph with a vigil held at the school gymnasium.

His mother Shannen Hoffman said she feels "destroyed" but did not want to miss the vigil.

"Today was worse than yesterday," Hoffman said. "I feel I don't know if I'll ever be okay again.

"My son Joey was the most beautiful soul you could ever meet in your life."

The medical examiner said that Joseph died from an arterial abnormality. It led to a sudden internal rupture which led to internal bleeding. 

The straight-A, three-sport standout was captain of the wrestling team and ran both cross country and track.

Team sport physicals always showed him in excellent health. 

"He was the most kind-hearted, most generous soul that you've ever seen," Hoffman said. "He was everything. I don't understand why he was taken from us at such a young age, so unexpectedly. 

"It's something you can't prepare for."

Outside the gymnasium near the football field, candles and lanterns were lit in Joseph's memory. 

Joseph's brother Jay Manfreda said that the event was therapeutic for his family.

"I've been at a loss for words," he said. "Everyone is doing amazing things, giving their support. I have been at a loss for words. It's an amazing amount of people who came, an amazing number of people he touched in his life."

Joseph's other brother John, said that he was planning on becoming a graphic designer. 

"This kid had life figured out," John Manfreda said. "He had the grades, he had the heart, he had the experience. He could have done anything he wanted to.

"It breaks my heart not knowing what he could have amounted to."

At the vigil, Roseville principal Pete Hedemark told the audience that if they want to honor Joseph, to work hard and follow your passion. 

He said that would be, 'the way to honor Joe, because that was Joe.'


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