Serving up this steaming pile of
Celebrity Gossip
Gay Politics
Gay News
and Pointless Bitchery
Since 1995

CEO''s Girlfriend Found Dead at His Home

The girlfriend of a pharmaceutical company CEO has been found dead at his mansion near San Diego, prompting an investigation by homicide detectives, police said Thursday.

The body of Rebecca Nalepa, 32, was discovered Wednesday evening at the seaside home owned by Medicis Pharmaceutical Chief Executive Jonah Shacknai in Coronado, California, an upscale island beach resort connected to San Diego by a long bridge.

A statement posted online by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department identified Nalepa as the girlfriend of the homeowner.

Land records show that Shacknai, whose Scottsdale, Arizona-based company is the maker of the acne treatment Solodyn and wrinkle-filler Restylane, purchased the landmark property known as the Spreckels Mansion several months ago.

Local television station 10News showed overhead video shot from its news helicopter of the crime scene in the mansion's courtyard on Wednesday night, and reported that the woman was found naked and bound with rope.

"The condition of the victim and the scene showed suspicious circumstances that initiated the response" from homicide investigators, the sheriff's department statement said.

The sheriff's department is handling the case in conjunction with the Coronado Police Department.

A news conference on the investigation was scheduled for later on Thursday.

Medicis issued a brief statement on the incident without giving details.

"The Medicis family is deeply saddened to learn of a tragic incident at a California property owned by Jonah Shacknai," the company said.

"Our thoughts are with Jonah and his family and ask that the family's privacy be respected during this difficult period.

by Ruh roh!reply 27502/24/2013

A CEO murder suspect? The media are cumming just thinking about it.

by Ruh roh!reply 107/14/2011

We find out how old she is, but what is his age?

by Ruh roh!reply 207/14/2011

Suicide, R3? With her feet bound and her hands tied behind her back?

by Ruh roh!reply 407/14/2011

Was there a bear sighting in the area?

by Ruh roh!reply 507/14/2011

Maybe she was dead when he started dating her. We shouldn't jump to conclusions. That's a nice hat.

by Ruh roh!reply 607/14/2011

Sorry R4 -- just passing on LA's 3PM news report for your entertainment

by Ruh roh!reply 707/14/2011

Lol at r6

by Ruh roh!reply 807/14/2011

R3 = Hercule Poirot

by Ruh roh!reply 907/14/2011

He's got to be in his 50s since he was in college in the late 1970s. He got a fellowship with the US Justice Dept in 1977 while he was working on his undergrad degree at Colgate.

by Ruh roh!reply 1007/14/2011

LOL R9!%0D I think the CEO did it.

by Ruh roh!reply 1107/14/2011

[quote] Police confirm that the victim is a 32-year-old Asian female.

He's lucky he still has his penis!

by Ruh roh!reply 1207/14/2011

Not many people strip naked to commit suicide R3.

by Ruh roh!reply 1307/14/2011

Why is that, r13? Are the suicidally depressed just too distracted by their misery to think of taking off their clothes?

by Ruh roh!reply 1407/14/2011

[quote] Shacknai, 54, is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation, which is based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

by Ruh roh!reply 1507/14/2011

I'm telling you it was the black bear.

by Ruh roh!reply 1607/14/2011

Nor do suicides tie themselves up.

by Ruh roh!reply 1707/14/2011

rofl r12

by Ruh roh!reply 1807/14/2011

Ewwww. Seems like old dudes into younger women have serious control issues. More often than not, it ends badly for the woman.

by Ruh roh!reply 1907/14/2011

If he is white, he'll get off. Nothing to see here, people.

by Ruh roh!reply 2007/14/2011

[quote]Police confirm that the victim is a 32-year-old Asian female.%0D %0D Bet she wouldn't come down off the roof.

by Ruh roh!reply 2107/14/2011

[quote]If he is white, he'll get off. Nothing to see here, people

Yeah, that's what I thought too.

by Ruh roh!reply 2207/14/2011

Me love you long ti..*thud*

by Ruh roh!reply 2307/14/2011

Death at Spreckels Mansion may be suicide, authorities say

July 14, 2011

The woman found dead at the Spreckels Mansion in Coronado may have committed suicide, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said Thursday.

Rebecca Nalepa, 32, the live-in girlfriend of the home's owner, Jonah Shacknai, the founder and owner of an Arizona-based pharmaceutical company, was found dead in the courtyard of the mansion.

Sheriff's Capt. Tim Curran said that Shacknai's brother, Adam, made an emergency call Wednesday morning saying he had found Nalepa hanging by her neck from a balcony. When police arrived, her nude body was found in the courtyard, her hands and feet bound.

Curran said that Adam Shacknai told police that he had cut down Nalepa's body in apparent hopes she was still alive.

"We are not ready to determine if this was a suicide or a criminal act," Curran said. He said that Adam Shacknai is considered a witness, not a suspect or even a "person of interest."

The only people at the 27-room mansion at the time were Nalepa and Adam Shacknai, Curran said.

Jonah Shacknai and his ex-wife were reportedly at a local hospital at the bedside of their 6-year-old son, who was seriously injured Monday in a fall at the mansion.

Police have found no link between the child's injury and the death of Nalepa, Curran said.

The mansion was built in 1908 by sugar baron and philanthropist John D. Spreckels.

by Ruh roh!reply 2407/14/2011

What kind of name is Shacknai?

by Ruh roh!reply 2507/14/2011

WTF? A suicide? Jesus Christ.

by Ruh roh!reply 2607/14/2011

Her hands & feet tied? That is supposed to be a suicide.?

by Ruh roh!reply 2707/14/2011

I know Asian females are pretty limber, but I can't see them being limber enough to tie themselves up like that and then commit suicide.

The CEO probably had something to do with it, kinky sex game gone wrong kind of thing.

by Ruh roh!reply 2807/14/2011

[quote]The only people at the 27-room mansion at the time were Nalepa and Adam Shacknai, Curran said.

Bullshit. The brother is covering for the CEO.

by Ruh roh!reply 2907/14/2011

[quote] What kind of name is Shacknai?

It's of the Jewish persuasia

by Ruh roh!reply 3007/14/2011

Thanks R30, it is an unusual name.

by Ruh roh!reply 3107/15/2011

One brother killed her (either on purpose or by accident) and the other is covering it up.

by Ruh roh!reply 3207/15/2011

The brother came on to her when they were alone in the house. She resisted (which, I'm sure, came as a surprise to the him - whore!)

He didn't want to get busted by his more successful brother and lose his meal ticket, so he killed.

I really am not sure how you can tie up your hands behind your back. Perhaps there is a way and she did that to prevent herself from trying to release herself (if it was to be death by strangulation and not by broken neck).

But would you use an orange electrical cord? It's not exactly the most malleable stuff.

I also don't think you'd do it nude.

by Ruh roh!reply 3307/15/2011

[bold] Autopsy Results Sealed in Mysterious Death of Millionaire's Girlfriend [/bold]

CORONADO, Calif. (KTLA) -- Autopsy results and other evidence in the "suspicious death" of the girlfriend of a multi-millionaire drug company executive found bound, nude and hanging from a balcony at a mansion near San Diego will be off-limits to the public "during the course of the investigation," detectives said Friday.

Officials confirmed that an autopsy had been complete on Rebecca Nalepa, 32, on Thursday, but that final results could remain on hold pending toxicology tests.

"Autopsy records as well as the search-warrant affidavit will be sealed during the course of the investigation,' San Diego Sheriff's spokeswoman Melissa Aquino said Friday morning.

Nalepa's body was discovered on Wednesday morning at the seaside home of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp founder and CEO Jonah Shacknai in Coronado.

The strange death came two days after Shacknai's 6-year-old son, Max, was critically injured and placed in a medically induced coma from what police said was reported as a fall from a staircase in the home, Coronado Police Chief Louis Scanlon said.

Land records show that Shacknai, 54, whose Scottsdale, Arizona-based company is maker of the acne treatment Solodyn and wrinkle-filler Restylane, purchased the 27-room landmark property known as the Spreckels Mansion in October 2010.

Shacknai was not present when authorities were called to his home on Monday morning, finding only the injured boy and his girlfriend at the residence.

Shacknai also was absent when his brother, Adam, a resident of a guest house on the property, found Nalepa hanging from her neck from a second-story balcony overlooking the courtyard, said Captain Tim Curran of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department homicide squad.

Adam Shacknai alerted authorities by calling emergency 911 and cut down the unclothed body, which then fell into the courtyard, Curran said at a news conference on Thursday.

Both brothers and Jonah Shacknai's ex-wife, Dina Shacknai, the mother of his 6-year-old son, were being questioned as witnesses in the investigation and were cooperating with detectives, Curran said.

Authorities declined to discuss Jonah Shacknai's current whereabouts.

The Arizona Republic newspaper cited his former mother-in-law, Nancy Romano, as saying Jonah and Dina Shacknai had been with their son since he was hospitalized on Monday.

Curran said no one has been detained or was considered a suspect in the case, which investigators have not so far labeled as the result of foul play even though Nalepa was found with her hands tied behind her back and her feet also bound.

Curran said investigators have not ruled out suicide.

"Because of the unique and bizarre circumstances, it has yet to be determined whether this is a homicide or a suspicious death," Curran told reporters. "This is a very bizarre death. There is no doubt about it."

Court records show Jonah and Dina Shacknai, his second wife, had their divorce finalized in January of this year, though Romano told the Arizona Republic that her former son-in-law and Nalepa had been together for about two years.

Court records in Arizona show that Nalepa, who was herself divorced in February, had her maiden surname of Zahau legally restored in May.

Medicis issued a brief statement on the incident without giving details.

"The Medicis family is deeply saddened to learn of a tragic incident at a California property owned by Jonah Shacknai," the company said. "Our thoughts are with Jonah and his family and ask that the family's privacy be respected during this difficult period."

Shares of the company, which reported 2010 revenues of $700 million, tumbled by as much as 5 percent following news of the investigation.

by Ruh roh!reply 3407/15/2011

They killed her in retaliation for her either throwing the kid down the stairs or negligently allowing him tofall

by Ruh roh!reply 3507/15/2011

[quote]They killed her in retaliation for her either throwing the kid down the stairs or negligently allowing him to fall

Really? Well then, that's OK.

by Ruh roh!reply 3607/15/2011

And now his son that fell down the stairs has died:

[bold] Second Death Reported at San Diego Millionaire's Mansion [/bold]

CORONADO, Calif. (KTLA) -- A young boy died after falling down a stairwell at the same Coronado home just days before a woman's naked body was found hanging from a balcony, family members confirmed Sunday.

Police were called to the seaside home of of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp founder and CEO Jonah Shacknai around 10 a.m. Monday after his 6-year-old son, Max, was critically injured from what police said was reported as a fall from a staircase in the home, Coronado Police Chief Louis Scanlon said.

He later died of his injuries.

The family released the following statement Sunday night:

"With great sadness, Dina and I convey the tragic passing of our beloved son, Max (affectionately known as Maxie). Despite heroic efforts on the part of paramedics and hospital staff, he was unable to recover from the injuries suffered early last week. His loving, kind and vibrant spirit will forever be in our hearts and those whom he touched every day. The loss to our families, Max's many friends of all ages and teammates, and the community is immeasurable."

Shacknai was not present when authorities were called to his home on Monday morning, finding only the injured boy and his girlfriend at the residence.

Max's death is the second in less than a week at the mansion. Two days after Max's injury, the body of his father's girlfriend, Rebecca Nalepa, was found bound, nude and hanging from a second-story balcony overlooking the courtyard.

Shacknai also was absent when his brother, Adam, a resident of a guest house on the property, found Nalepa, 32, said Captain Tim Curran of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department homicide squad.

Adam Shacknai alerted authorities by calling emergency 911 and cut down the unclothed body, which then fell into the courtyard, Curran said at a news conference on Thursday.

Both brothers and Jonah Shacknai's ex-wife, Dina Shacknai, the mother of his 6-year-old son, were being questioned as witnesses in the investigation and were cooperating with detectives, Curran said.

Authorities declined to discuss Jonah Shacknai's current whereabouts.

The Arizona Republic newspaper cited his former mother-in-law, Nancy Romano, as saying Jonah and Dina Shacknai had been with their son since he was hospitalized on Monday.

Curran said no one has been detained or was considered a suspect in the case, which investigators have not so far labeled as the result of foul play even though Nalepa was found with her hands tied behind her back and her feet also bound.

Curran said investigators have not ruled out suicide.

"Because of the unique and bizarre circumstances, it has yet to be determined whether this is a homicide or a suspicious death," Curran told reporters. "This is a very bizarre death. There is no doubt about it."

Court records show Jonah and Dina Shacknai, his second wife, had their divorce finalized in January of this year, though Romano told the Arizona Republic that her former son-in-law and Nalepa had been together for about two years.

Court records in Arizona show that Nalepa, who was herself divorced in February, had her maiden surname of Zahau legally restored in May.

Medicis issued a brief statement on the incident without giving details.

"The Medicis family is deeply saddened to learn of a tragic incident at a California property owned by Jonah Shacknai," the company said. "Our thoughts are with Jonah and his family and ask that the family's privacy be respected during this difficult period."

Land records show that Shacknai, 54, whose Scottsdale, Arizona-based company is maker of the acne treatment Solodyn and wrinkle-filler Restylane, purchased the 27-room landmark property known as the Spreckels Mansion in October 2010.

Shares of the company, which reported 2010 revenues of $700 million, tumbled by as much as 5 percent following news of the investigation.

by Ruh roh!reply 3707/17/2011

This is fascinating to me, for some morbid reason I'm sure. I agree that someone held the girlfriend accountable for the son's death and this is payback OR it occurs to me that someone is trying to get something from the father-boyfriend (extortion? gambling debts? scary business partners?) and these two deaths are the threats being actualized. (is that a word?) In any case, it couldn't have been suicide.

by Ruh roh!reply 3807/18/2011

Oh, this is SO going to be in Vanity Fair.

by Ruh roh!reply 3907/18/2011

Clearly an accident

by Ruh roh!reply 4007/18/2011

She killed the kid and then felt guilty about it or knew she'd be caught and killed herself.

by Ruh roh!reply 4107/18/2011

So she killed herself by throwing herself off the balcony after she bound her hands and feet? right.

by Ruh roh!reply 4207/18/2011

[quote]The boy is being treated at Rady's Children's Hospital San Diego. He is thought to be in a come bu hospital spokesman Carlos Delgado declined to comment on his condition. %0D %0D %0D Another stellar example of editing at the Daily Mail.

by Ruh roh!reply 4307/18/2011

The problem is, just like in the Budweiser heir's case, that the guy is a HUGE DONOR to the Democrats. HUGE. So they're not going after him and this story is not front page news like it should be everywhere.

by Ruh roh!reply 4407/18/2011

San Diego and Arizona are hardly Democrat strongholds.

by Ruh roh!reply 4507/18/2011

[quote]So she killed herself by throwing herself off the balcony after she bound her hands and feet? right.

Hey, it happens:

"A University of Idaho student found hanged from a campus tree with his hands tied behind his back committed suicide, a prosecutor said.

An autopsy performed Thursday on Sharon Andrew Akhavan, 21, found that the Iranian-born architecture student died of strangulation and had no other injuries at the time of death, said Latah County Prosecutor Craig Mosman."

by Ruh roh!reply 4607/18/2011

A cleaner has discovered a dead man with his hands tied behind his back and a bag over his head in a toilet at Los Angeles International Airport.

Police believe the 35-year-old, whose body was found in a cubicle in a men's bathroom in Terminal 3 at the airport on Wednesday morning, committed suicide.

by Ruh roh!reply 4707/18/2011

I've heard that women don't often kill themselves by hanging, that it's mostly a man thing. Is that true?

by Ruh roh!reply 4807/18/2011

r45 look up whom he donates to. I'm sure has tons of residences, not just that mansion.

by Ruh roh!reply 4907/18/2011

Authorities are trying make sense of two deaths over the last week at the Spreckels Mansion in Coronado.

On Sunday, the owner of the mansion, drug company executive Jonah Shacknai, announced his 6-year-old son, Max, died from a fall suffered Monday, July 11.

Spreckels The mansion was the site of the still-unexplained death of the Shacknai's girlfriend. Rebecca Nalepa, was found dead in the courtyard of the 27-room estate two days after Max Shacknai was taken to the hospital.

Her body was discovered hanging from a balcony, her hands and feet bound, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, which has said her death may have been a suicide.

The boy was injured in a fall from the grand staircase at the Ocean Boulevard mansion, near the Hotel Del Coronado.

by Ruh roh!reply 5007/18/2011

How do you tie your own hands behind your back & hang yourself?

by Ruh roh!reply 5107/18/2011

I suppose it's theoretically possible for a small, flexible person to tie her feet, tie her hands in front and then wiggle them under her legs and behind. But in order for her to hang herself once she'd done this, she'd have to do the tying and wiggling while teetering at the edge of a balcony!%0D %0D But why take the trouble, when taking a bottle of pills is so easy? %0D %0D

by Ruh roh!reply 5207/18/2011

Coronado Mansion Death Ruled a Suicide: Sister

| Friday, Sep 2, 2011 | Updated 11:33 AM PDT

Mary Zahau-Loehner waited seven weeks to find out what happened to her 32 year old sister Rebecca. When homicide detectives told her they are going to rule the death a suicide, Zahau-Loehner said no, they've got it all wrong. Tony Shin reports.

Investigators have ruled that the woman who was found hanging naked from a second-floor balcony at an historic mansion committed suicide, the victim's sister told NBCSanDiego on Thursday.

Rebecca Zahau's sister, Mary Zahau-Loehner, says she doesn't agree with the findings. "My sister did not commit suicide," she said. "She was murdered."

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department will make the official announcement of their findings in the deaths of Rebecca Zahau and Max Shacknai on Friday.

Zahau was found naked, hanging by her neck from a balcony at the historic Spreckels Mansion on Coronado.

"She would not have exposed herself, knowing that everybody would see her that way," Zahau-Loehner said.

Rebecca Zahau's legs and wrists were bound and a source close to the investigation told NBC 7 San Diego a week and a half ago that detectives are reasonably confident her death was a suicide.

Zahau's sister also said investigators told her that there isn't any evidence leading to any suspects. "They explained by saying that there were no signs of struggle or foul play."

Sources told NBC 7 San Diego Zahau felt tremendous guilt over the death of 6-year-old Max Shacknai because his fatal injuries happened while she was watching the boy.

However, Zahau's friends and family have said that they don't believe the 32-year-old would commit suicide.

Sheriff Bill Gore is expected to lead a panel of experts from homicide investigators to the coroner to discuss the results of the investigation beginning at 11 a.m. Friday.

NBCSanDiego is planning on providing a live stream of the event.

Initially, investigators described Zahau's death as "violent" and "suspicious in nature."

The property's owner is Jonah Shacknai, 54, founder and CEO of Medicis, a pharmaceutical company based in Scottsdale, Ariz. and Zahau's boyfriend.

Zahau and Adam Shacknai, Jonah's brother, were the only two people staying at the home the night of July 12.

Zahau was staying in the main house. Adam Shacknai was staying in the guesthouse.

Jonah Shacknai was not at the residence the evening prior to the discovery of the body nor at the time she was discovered, officials said.

by Ruh roh!reply 5309/02/2011

[quote]"She would not have exposed herself, knowing that everybody would see her that way," Zahau-Loehner said.

I agree. I can't imagine a woman wanting to be found stark naked like that and hanging. Seems more like someone wanted to humiliate and degrade her.

by Ruh roh!reply 5409/02/2011

Not guilty by reason of extreme wealth.

by Ruh roh!reply 5509/02/2011

Even when we don't believe their "official" stories, the power people understand that we will do nothing about it.

by Ruh roh!reply 5609/02/2011


by Ruh roh!reply 5709/02/2011

Where's Nancy grace?

by Ruh roh!reply 5809/02/2011

[quote]Where's Nancy grace?

The poor gal was Asian -- Nancy comes out only for American blondes

by Ruh roh!reply 5909/02/2011

WTF? This is not a suicide; it's clearly a murder (as were the other references to "auicides" (in one case a lynching) with bound arms listed above).

by Ruh roh!reply 6009/02/2011

Can someone enlighten me as to how she tied her own hands behind her back?

by Ruh roh!reply 6109/02/2011

That's not true about Nancy Grace.%0D %0D This reminds me of the Carradine brother who was found in a similar manner of death. His family doesn't think it is suicide either.%0D %0D This woman was murdered.

by Ruh roh!reply 6209/02/2011

So what are we going to do about it?

by Ruh roh!reply 6309/02/2011

[quote]I agree. I can't imagine a woman wanting to be found stark naked like that and hanging.

Exactly -- especially a young woman who was presumably quite attractive, given that she landed a mega-rich boyfriend.

Unbelievable. Money talks, eh?

by Ruh roh!reply 6409/02/2011

Poor Rebecca -- RIP

by Ruh roh!reply 6509/02/2011

Inasmuch as she was a gold-digging ho who may have caused the death of the child, I can't get too teary-eyed. But it had to be murder, not suicide.

by Ruh roh!reply 6609/02/2011

[quote]Jonah Shacknai was not at the residence the evening prior to the discovery of the body nor at the time she was discovered, officials said.%0D %0D That's just too, too pat.

by Ruh roh!reply 6709/02/2011

Coronado mansion deaths: Jonah Shacknai thanks investigators September 2, 2011 | 2:37 pm increase text size decrease text size

Getprev Pharmaceutical executive Jonah Shacknai expressed his appreciation Friday for the "professionalism and dedication" of San Diego County law enforcement officials who, after investigating the deaths of his son and his girlfriend, declared that neither was due to foul play.

County Sheriff Bill Gore told a packed news conference Friday that the death of 6-year-old Max Shacknai was a "tragic accident" and that the death of Rebecca Zahau was a suicide. Zahau, 32, apparently killed herself after learning that the boy would not recover from a fall at the family's Coronado mansion that occurred while she was at home, officials said.

"While the investigation is over," Shacknai said in a statement, "the emptiness and sadness in our hearts will remain forever. Max was an extraordinarily loving, happy, talented and special little boy. ... Rebecca too was a wonderful and unique person who will always have a special place in my heart."

Zahau was found hanging by her neck in the courtyard of the mansion on the morning of July 13. Two days earlier, Max Shacknai had tumbled down stairs from a second-story landing at the Coronado home.

In his statement, Shacknai thanked those who tried to save Max's life, and also the Coronado Police Department, the Sheriff's Department and the San Diego medical examiner for "investigating and explaining these terrible events."

Zahau's nude body was found with her hands and feet loosely tied and a noose was around her neck and tied to a second-story balcony, officials said.

Although how she killed herself may seem unusual, it is not unprecedented and there is no evidence that there was foul play, Gore and others said.

"It's not something you come across every day, but it does occur," said Dr. Jonathan Lucas, deputy medical examiner. "People bind themselves so they don't change their minds midway through."

Zahau's fingerprints and DNA were the only ones found on the rope, on the knife she used to cut it into pieces and place sections around her feet and hands and around her neck, and in her bedroom, said Sgt. David Nemeth of the Sheriff's Department homicide squad. Investigators also said they conducted an experiment with a woman of similar size to see if she could tie herself up in the same way with the same knots, concluding that she could.

"We had to see if it was possible," Nemeth said. A video of the experiment was shown at the news conference.

"Science does not lie," Gore said.

Zahau also had taken some black paint and painted a message on the door to a guest room where she had been staying, authorities said. Gore declined to reveal what the message said.

Toxicology tests revealed that there was nothing in her system that would have impaired her judgment, Lucas said.

Investigators said they spoke to someone who knew Zahau and that that person said she had been upset for months, was losing weight and not exercising. Authorities also said they found notes in Zahau's personal journal at the Coronado mansion indicating emotional distress.

The evidence is "all compelling and points persuasively" to suicide, Gore said.

On July 11, Max Shacknai fell or tripped, possibly over a soccer ball or the family dog, while running on a second-floor landing. He then tumbled over the stairway and grabbed a chandelier during his fall. He landed on his head, according to investigators.

After a week at Rady Children's Hospital, during which Shacknai and his ex-wife, the boy's mother, kept a vigil at his bedside, he died. Shacknai was not at the mansion when Zahau committed suicide, investigators said.

Initially, Gore said, Zahau believed that the boy could survive his injuries. But shortly before 1 a.m., she received a telephone call informing her that the boy was going to die.

Lucas said it is believed she killed herself before 3 a.m. Her body was found around 6:40 a.m. by Shacknai's brother, Adam, a guest at the mansion.


by Ruh roh!reply 6809/02/2011


Mary Zahau-Loehner, Zahau's sister, had told reporters Thursday night that her family does not believe Zahau took her own life. The family was briefed by investigators on Wednesday.

Shacknai, 54, and Zahau had been together for two years. She had quit her job to spend more time with him and his children.

Shacknai's main residence is near his company, Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Coronado mansion, built in the early 1900s by sugar baron John D. Spreckels, was his summer home.

by Ruh roh!reply 6909/02/2011

It's just not how women work psychologically (I am one). You wouldn't make yourself more vulnerable/exposed before you killed yourself. And you damn well wouldn't bind your ankles and your hands - particularly not your ankles; that doesn't even fit the weird justification the investigators gave of why someone would bind their hands.

by Ruh roh!reply 7009/02/2011

[quote]On July 11, Max Shacknai fell or tripped, possibly over a soccer ball or the family dog, while running on a second-floor landing. He then tumbled over the stairway and grabbed a chandelier during his fall. He landed on his head, according to investigators.

Sounds reasonable.

by Ruh roh!reply 7109/02/2011

Maybe the old fart found out she was cheating on him.

by Ruh roh!reply 7209/02/2011

R67- he was at the hospital with his comatose son..

by Ruh roh!reply 7309/02/2011

She killed the kid accidentally and he hired someone to kill her in revenge. That is my theory and I'm sticking to it.

Also, I wish I was a multi-billionaire so I could off people without fear of reprisal.

by Ruh roh!reply 7409/02/2011

I think the brother did it.

by Ruh roh!reply 7509/02/2011

I think she killed the kid on purpose.

by Ruh roh!reply 7609/02/2011

DNA Led to Suicide Ruling in Calif. Mansion Death

By ELLIOT SPAGAT Associated Press

SAN DIEGO September 2, 2011 (AP)

Footprints on a dusty balcony and DNA on a knife, rope and bedposts helped investigators conclude that the death of a woman found hanging naked with her wrists and ankles bound at a historic California mansion was a suicide, authorities said Friday.

The physical evidence suggests that Rebecca Zahau bound herself, tied a rope around her neck and hung herself from the balcony of her pharmaceutical tycoon boyfriend's home in July, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said.

Zahau, 32, was discovered dead six hours after she retrieved a voice mail that said the condition of her boyfriend's 6-year-old son had suddenly worsened and that he was unlikely to survive, investigators said.

The boy, Max Shacknai, had suffered injuries two days earlier in a fall down the Coronado mansion's stairs. He later died from his brain injuries in a fall that authorities ruled an accident.

"Was Max's death a homicide? The answer is no," Gore said at a news conference. "It was a tragic accident. Was Rebecca's death a homicide? Again the answer is no. It was a suicide ... These deaths were not the result of any criminal acts."

Other evidence included fingerprints on a knife and a message in black paint left by Zahau on the bedroom door, Gore said. He declined to disclose the message's content and stopped short of calling it a suicide note. No drugs were found in Zahau. null

"Science doesn't lie," Gore said. "That's why I'm so confident."

Anne Bremner, an attorney for Zahau's family, said the painted message says something like, "She saved him. Can he save her?"

"We don't believe it means anything and the family says it's clearly not her handwriting," Bremner said.

Bremner said investigators jumped to conclusions and that someone could have easily thrown her 100-pound frame over the balcony.

"It would take a contortionist, like a Cirque de Soleil artist, to do what they claim she did," she said.

The woman and the boy are linked to Jonah Shacknai, founder and chief executive of Medicis Pharmaceuticals Corp. and owner of the 27-room waterfront mansion. Zahau was his girlfriend of two years. Max was his son from a marriage that ended in divorce in 2008.

"Nothing will ever be the same for our families after these losses, but with today's information providing some much needed answers, we will try to rebuild our lives and honor the memories we carry with us," Shacknai said in a statement.

No one saw Max Shacknai fall, but Zahau was home with her 13-year-old sister and heard a loud noise, investigators said.

Investigators believe the boy fell over a railing of a U-shaped staircase, struck a chandelier and hit another railing before falling on his face. He was found near the fallen chandelier, two soccer balls and a scooter.

The boy injured his neck, which stopped his heart and breathing for about 30 minutes, said Dr. Jonathan Lucas of the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office. The lack of oxygen to his brain caused irreversible damage and his death five days later.

Two days after the boy's fall, Shacknai's brother, Adam, called 911 to report that Zahau appeared to be dead, investigators said. The brother was staying in a mansion guesthouse. Jonah Shacknai was not at home.

Friday's 1%C2%BD-hour news conference included a video reenactment of how investigators think Zahau bound her wrists.

Investigators believe Zahau tied rope to bedposts and around her wrists and ankles. They think she loosely bound her wrists, took one arm out and put both arms behind her back before tightening the noose.


by Ruh roh!reply 7709/03/2011


"We don't know exactly how this event occurred," sheriff's Sgt. Dave Nemeth said. "We don't know in what order things were done. The only person who can answer that question, unfortunately, is deceased."

Lucas, who conducted the autopsy, estimated she hung herself around 3 a.m., several hours before Adam Shacknai reported seeing her body.

"I'll be the first to admit that this was a unique and unusual case," he said.

Zahau, a native of Myanmar, was an ophthalmic technician in the Phoenix area from April 2008 to December 2010. The family attorney said she was a devout Christian.

"Her religion was such that she thought anyone who committed suicide would go to hell," Bremner said.

Shacknai has been chairman and chief executive of the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Medicis since 1988. The company makes acne treatments Solodyn and Ziana and facial wrinkle treatment Restylane and Dysport, a competitor of Botox.

Shacknai bought the mansion, known as the Spreckels mansion, in March 2007, when it was assessed at $12.75 million. The home was built in 1908 and named for its original owner, John D. Spreckels, who also owned the San Diego Union and San Diego Tribune newspapers.

by Ruh roh!reply 7809/03/2011

In the UK, there would be a coroner's inquest, and the gal's family would have a lawyer to represent their doubts.

by Ruh roh!reply 7909/03/2011

Has there been a service for Zahau? Did Shaknai attend?

by Ruh roh!reply 8009/03/2011

Don't Asian women (and Asians, in general) have a cultural thing about humility, honor and dishonor and "death for dishonor" stuff? I mean, it doesn't seem surprising that an Asian woman WOULD bind herself up like that and then commit suicide. American women, no way, but Asian women? Different cultural perspective?

That being said, the whole thing is just TOO damned suspicious and convenient. Uber wealthy husband (and family) with alibis. Police department payoffs. This reminds me of old Hollywood when the studios paid off the police and the media to keep stories out of the papers and the stars out of jail.

by Ruh roh!reply 8109/03/2011

Was there a history of physical abuse of Zahau by the boyfriend? I seem to recall some restraining orders.

by Ruh roh!reply 8209/03/2011

R82, this article was linked in the original thread about this death

by Ruh roh!reply 8309/03/2011

Is law enforcement extraordinarily sensitive to the needs of the wealthy and powerful?

From the LA Times:

SFPD gave Apple 'assistance' searching home for lost device September 3, 2011 | 8:56 am increase text size decrease text size 56


Four San Francisco police officers accompanied two Apple employees to a man's house and hung around while they looked for a lost item, according to a statement from the SFPD on Friday evening.

Do police officers generally accompany corporate security personnel to search private homes? The statement by SFPD's Lt. Troy Dangerfield did not say.

Dangerfield sent out a brief statement after his department received questions from over 60 media outlets about reports that S.F. police had helped Apple operatives in their efforts to recover a lost iPhone prototype.

Dangerfield's statement seems to confirm elements of a story from SF Weekly which reported on Friday that a 22-year-old man, Sergio Calder%C3%B3n, said two Apple operatives and four plainclothes officers showed up at his door and asked to come inside and look for a lost iPhone. But the SF Weekly account said Calder%C3%B3n reported that the men who showed up at his house used threatening language, asking him if the residents of his home were U.S. citizens.

Apple has not responded to a request for comment on the situation.

The two Apple officials searched the home but did not find what they were looking for, according to Dangerfield's statement, which is as follows:

After speaking with Apple representatives, we were given information which helped us determine what occurred. It was discovered that Apple employees called Mission Police station directly, wanting assistance in tracking down a lost item. Apple had tracked the lost item to a house located in the 500 block of Anderson Street. Because the address was in the Ingleside Police district Apple employees were referred to Officers in the Ingleside district. Four SFPD Officers accompanied Apple employees to the Anderson street home. The two Apple employees met with the resident and then went into the house to look for the lost item. The Apple employees did not find the lost item and left the house.

The Apple employees did not want to make an official report of the lost item.

About a year ago, Apple faced criticism for involving law enforcement in a different case of a lost iPhone prototype. Armed law enforcement personnel showed up at a blogger's house with a warrant and rammed down his door.

Read about that case in the related links found at the link below.

by Ruh roh!reply 8409/03/2011

Where was Phil Spector at the time it happened?

by Ruh roh!reply 8509/03/2011

By Radar Staff

Rebecca Zahau, found hanging nude and bound from the outside of her multimillionaire boyfriend's California mansion, also had a mysterious "tape residue" on both her legs and part of a T-shirt stuffed in her mouth as a gag, has learned.

The tape residue and gag were not revealed in Friday's 90-minute press conference when the San Diego County Medical Examiner and San Diego County Sheriff's Department jointly announced they were ruling Zahau's bizarre death a suicide.

The stunning new details were uncovered by KFMB-AM which obtained a full copy of the autopsy.

Zahau died July 13, two days after her boyfriend Jonah Shacknai's six-year-old son Max was critically injured in a fall inside the historic mansion they all shared.

Law enforcement officials theorized that Zahau was distraught over the boy's accident, and may have felt to blame for it. Max died July 16.

Rebecca's family is convinced she didn't commit suicide, and this new information is certain to give them even more determination to pursue an investigation into her tragic death.

by Ruh roh!reply 8609/04/2011

So she stripped herself naked, gagged herself, taped herself up and bound both her feet and hands behind her back before committing suicide?

Yes, of course, that makes perfect sense. Case closed.

by Ruh roh!reply 8709/04/2011

[quote]Rebecca Zahau, .... also had a mysterious "tape residue" on both her legs and part of a T-shirt stuffed in her mouth as a gag.

Mystery solved! It was a practical joke gone awry.

Ipod anyone?

by Ruh roh!reply 8809/04/2011

[quote]Is law enforcement extraordinarily sensitive to the needs of the wealthy and powerful?

Well they referred to Mr. Ramsey and me as "credible millionaires" in an initial report. But I don't see any problem with that.

by Ruh roh!reply 8909/04/2011

So supposedly this woman gagged and bound herself? Cops got a hefty pay out by the bf. Wasn't he abusive towards his son's mother?

by Ruh roh!reply 9009/04/2011

I smell a payout/payoff. I am quite sure some police official (s) would think "Sure, I will take this killer's money and be comfortable the rest of my life." People without a moral compass can rationalize ANYthing.

by Ruh roh!reply 9109/04/2011

I don't understand about the boy's death. Did he bring the chandelier down with him? And if you trip and fall over a railing, by yourself, how are you going to reach out to a chandelier when your momentum is already carrying you down?

by Ruh roh!reply 9209/04/2011

Even stranger, the message she supposedly painted on the door:%0D %0D %0D According to Ms Zahau's ex-husband, Neil Nalepa, it read: 'She saved him, can he save her.'%0D %0D

by Ruh roh!reply 9309/04/2011

I have a cousin who was a cop in the drug unit and in homicide.

One day, he buys a lot on a bluff in a multimillion dollar community overlooking the Long Island Sound. The price he paid for it was something like $35,000 when similar lots were going for well over $100,000. My mother and his mother clucked about how "lucky" he was to get it at such a good price, because the owners were going through a divorce and one of the people getting the divorce "wanted to dump it." (Suuure)

Then I heard his BIL bought the lot next door. I was surprised, because he cant stand the BIL. Well, said my aunt, it was actually two lots being sold together. The owner would only sell the two lots together, and her son (my cousin) couldn't afford both lots. "If he'd told me, I would have bought the other lot. Or one of his brothers could have bought the lot. Why get the BIL to go in on it, since he hates him?

This left my aunt and my mother stammering for s reason. I knew the reason. The BIL was also a cop and he must have blackmailed my cousin into letting him have the lot. Because he knew whatever the dirty deal was that my cousin did to get that piece of land at such a ridiculously low price.

Somebody kept their kid out of jail, either from a drug charge or a homicide charge, with that land swap. I'm betting a piece of vital evidence from the case disappeared. And my cousin made it disappear.

by Ruh roh!reply 9409/04/2011

Well, r70, wait before you make that claim. I understand where you're coming from and would agree if the victim had been anything but Asian. Where was she from and how long had the victim been in the U.S.? Cultural differences could be at work here. It's not something an American woman could do but maybe a Chinese woman could, for instance.

American women, those of any race, don't typically hang themselves. They tend to take pills or slash their wrists or both. Methods are broken down by gender at this website. Poisons are first for women (pills or other poisons), firearms second, hanging and suffocation are third, etc.

The World Health Org has stats on suicide methods by gender. Hanging is no. 1 in many countries; poisons tend to be no. 1 among Asian women from various Asian countries.

It is possible to tie your hands and feet and hang yourself. It requires some knowledge of knots but it can be done. If you hang yourself with your hands free, you are just going to delay the inevitable because instinct will cause you to pull at the noose. So someone with knowledge of this might bind their hands.

I just don't see a distraught woman going to all that trouble, though. I think this stinks to high heaven but I would like to know more about the knots used to bind her before I believe that she killed herself or was murdered.

by Ruh roh!reply 9509/04/2011

Notice they hold the press conference right before a long holiday weekend in hopes everyone will forget all about it during their vacations.

Usally the media weenies out easily, but in this case and that of Ronni Chasen, many journalists tried to break through the police story before hitting a brick wall because the family shut-up.

I hope they, and the woman's family, continue to push for the truth behind this story.

by Ruh roh!reply 9609/04/2011

The news cycle will make this story old by Tuesday. No one will be investigated for this mess.

by Ruh roh!reply 9709/04/2011

CORONADO, Calif. (CBS8) -- A renowned forensic pathologist said Sunday that injuries on the top of the head of Rebecca Zahau described in her autopsy are unexplained by the circumstances of her hanging death, which was officially ruled a suicide by the San Diego County Medical Examiner.

Pathologist Cyril Wecht reviewed Zahua's entire autopsy report, obtained Friday by News 8.

"She has subgaleal hemorrhages; those are hemorrhages on the undersurface of the scalp. I see no reason why she should have those." Dr. Wecht said. "You get those when your head strikes something or is struck by something."

Wecht said the scenario described by investigators where Zahau used a rope to tie her own hands, feet and neck before rolling off the balcony of her boyfriend's Coronado mansion leaves many unanswered questions.

"Even if (her) scalp hit bushes, that kind of impact would not produce subgaleal hemorrhage," Wecht said. "We're talking about contusions on the top of the head. So, even as the body is falling down %E2%80%93 let's say there are branches %E2%80%93 how do you get bruises on the top of the head as the body is falling vertically downward?"

The autopsy report describes four hemorrhaging injuries under Zahau's scalp:

"On the right superior parietal scalp there is a 2 x 1 inch subgaleal hemorrhage. On the right lateral frontal scalp there are two subgaleal hemorrhages measuring 3/4 x 1/2 inch and 1/2 x 1/4 inch. On the right lateral frontotemporal scalp, there is a 3/8 inch diameter subgaleal hemorrhage."

On Friday, investigators with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department closed their criminal investigation into the case, saying there is no evidence of foul play in Zahau's July 13 death, a conclusion questioned by Dr. Wecht.

"I don't have enough to come right out and say this is a homicide. As a medical examiner, as a coroner, in my opinion the manner of death should have been left as undetermined. Sometimes we can't be sure and sometimes you leave it as undetermined because more investigation is to be conducted," Wecht said.

Wecht said Zahau's head injuries %E2%80%93 which caused bleeding underneath her scalp %E2%80%93 would have occurred while she was still alive or in the minutes shortly after her death. He said it is impossible to determine whether Zahau's head trauma would have rendered her unconscious.

"A blow or blows sufficient to produce subgaleal, subscalpular hemorrhage could be sufficient for someone to be knocked out, just temporarily, not to produce any damage to the brain, not to cause any prolonged unconsciousness; but one cannot say," Dr. Wecht said. "There are clearly (indications) of some kind of blunt force trauma. So, for someone to say there is no evidence whatsoever of any kind of a struggle is not correct."

Wecht, 80, is a former president of the American Academy of Forensic Science who has consulted on numerous high profile death investigations, including the murder of JonBenet Ramsey and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

He also questioned why, according to the autopsy report, sticky tape residue was found on the legs of Zahau. Investigators have said Zahau used rope, not tape, to bind her feet.

"Where is the tape and what was it used for?" Wecht asked. "Let me give you two scenarios. One could say maybe she was going to bind her feet with duct tape and she switched to the rope. Well then, where's the duct tape if that's the case?"

"And, the other scenario is maybe somebody else was attempting to put duct tape around her feet, or maybe did put duct tape around her feet when she was being subdued, and then took it off."

"Those marks %E2%80%93 clearly from tape like duct tape %E2%80%93 where do they come from? Why are they there?" asked Wecht.

by Ruh roh!reply 9809/04/2011

So who's going to investigate this case now that San Diego has decided the case is closed? Can the FBI investigate? Because clearly this woman was murdered. Jesus Christ, this is bullshit.

by Ruh roh!reply 9909/05/2011

I find myself very pissed off about this. The rich can clearly murder and get away with it. I mean,she had a T-shity shoved in her mouth and it was "suicide"?!

by Ruh roh!reply 10009/05/2011

This is the creepiest part to me:%0D %0D "Adam Shacknai alerted authorities by calling emergency 911 and cut down the unclothed body, which then fell into the courtyard, Curran said at a news conference on Thursday."%0D %0D Who would do that??

by Ruh roh!reply 10109/05/2011

He cut her down because he thought he might still be able to save her. He took a polygraph and passed with flying colors.

by Ruh roh!reply 10209/05/2011

Very strange.

by Ruh roh!reply 10309/05/2011

oh sure, polygraphs are infallible.

by Ruh roh!reply 10409/05/2011

This case needs to be picked up on the internet. In the old days, cops could say, "Case closed" and that was that.%0D %0D Not anymore....

by Ruh roh!reply 10509/05/2011

If you believe your lie is true, you can pass a polygraph. If the polygraph operator stands to gain financially from a certain set of results, you can pass with flying colors.

If you are telling the truth about your innocent place in circumstances engineered by others, you can pass a polygraph.

by Ruh roh!reply 10609/05/2011

So you could know about, say, a fact that she had a hit on her, and as long as you didn't do the murder yourself, you could pass a polygraph test? Yikes!

by Ruh roh!reply 10709/05/2011

Or you could not know about it, R107, because you didn't do it. But since you *seem* to have been the only one who was at home at the time, they will make you go through a polygraph and, naturally, you will pass it.

by Ruh roh!reply 10809/05/2011

I don't understand - if the brother is covering for an anonymous hitman, how could he pass a polygraph? Sorry to be dense.

by Ruh roh!reply 10909/05/2011

He might not be covering -- he maybe doesn't know what happened beyond going out, finding her hanging, and cutting her down. But the police treated him as a person of interest because no one else was seen to be there, and they did not think that someone else might have done it.

Why they stopped with the (possibly hapless) brother is as great a mystery as why they did not consider the tape residue, head wounds, and gag to be important bits of evidence that could point to homicide.

by Ruh roh!reply 11009/05/2011

Okay, thanks R110.

by Ruh roh!reply 11109/05/2011

This is a weird one. There's obviously a lot more going on that we are not privy to, but I have an extremely difficult time believing that Jonah and/or Dina Shacknai had the presence of mind and time to call a hit out on Rebecca an hour after they learned their son wouldn't survive his injuries. If it had happened a few days later, then maybe...

I think that Jonah left her a voice mail that the kid was gonna die, he wanted her out of the house, he never wanted to see her again, and he probably said it in a much uglier manner. So she offed herself, maybe trying to make it look like a murder.

Who the fuck knows.

by Ruh roh!reply 11209/05/2011

But they did have a couple of days, R112 -- the kid got "hurt on Monday, and the girlfriend died on Wednesday.

by Ruh roh!reply 11309/05/2011

[quote]they will make you go through a polygraph and, naturally, you will pass it.

"They" can't make you take a polygraph. It's voluntary. And the brother presumably volunteered to sit for a polygraph to clear himself.

by Ruh roh!reply 11409/05/2011

Actually, R114, I think they can make you -- or at least pester you until you do. Remember how they kept pestering Scott Peterson before he was charged?

But the brother was publicly deemed neither a suspect or a person of interest from the get go, so there was no need or him to take it. There was no need to volunteer if he was not under suspicion, and he wasn't...

by Ruh roh!reply 11509/05/2011

This morning, the sister was interviewed on the Today show and said the family is working to get the police to reopen the investigation.

But today was a holiday -- they have to continue to appear on the media or it will be forgotten.

by Ruh roh!reply 11609/05/2011

[quote]I think they can make you

No. I'm a former prosecutor. The police cannot make you sit for a polygraph.

by Ruh roh!reply 11709/05/2011

Police are backpedaling now and a coroner is saying they were too quick to dismiss the case.

by Ruh roh!reply 11809/06/2011

From Forbes, Guest True Crime Writer Cathy Scott:

...What conclusions were drawn about the presence of tape residue on her calves and the gag itself? The gag was crafted from a tied T-shirt wrapped three times over the noose and then around Zahau%E2%80%99s neck, before the end of its sleeve was stuffed in her mouth. Then there were the scratches and abrasions on Zahau%E2%80%99s skin that looked like defensive wounds.

If this was a suicide, it was worthy of Houdini. Someone tied a cleat-hitch knot, commonly used for dock tying, and a slip knot with a red marine rope. One end of the deadly cord was tied to the leg of a cast-iron bed, anchoring it, while the other was fashioned into a noose leading out to the small balcony from which Zahau was found hanging.

Full Article:

by Ruh roh!reply 11909/06/2011

This whole things stinks to high heaven of a massive cover up/pay off.

by Ruh roh!reply 12009/06/2011

The brother untied the rope on her wrists, removed the gag, and waited four hours before calling 911.

by Ruh roh!reply 12109/06/2011

Four hours? Why and aren't you supposed to not touch a body?

by Ruh roh!reply 12209/06/2011

It's all in the Forbes article linked above

by Ruh roh!reply 12309/06/2011

He didn't wait four hours.

Here is the autopsy report. It actually makes me lean more towards a completely nutty suicide.

by Ruh roh!reply 12409/06/2011

Wow. When is this gonna be on L&O Special Victims Unit. It's the perfect mess.

by Ruh roh!reply 12509/06/2011

The cops are trying way too hard by putting out a video of a woman tying knots the way they are saying she did, which looks way too difficult to bother with btw.

by Ruh roh!reply 12609/06/2011

Can the DA reopen the case? The police hid the tape residue and tshirt evidence at first.

by Ruh roh!reply 12709/06/2011

So the bf's brother was a tug boat operator? Did I hear right? That could explain the elaborate knots.

by Ruh roh!reply 12809/06/2011

Damn, R128, I didn't even catch that! I WAS wondering why this young cute thing would know how to tie such an elaborate knot ... you should offer your services to the local Barney Fifes, they could obviously use the help.

by Ruh roh!reply 12909/06/2011

Who paid for the polygraph? Did Shacknai buy himself an "expert" who fed him carefully chosen questions perhaps? Let's see the transcript.

by Ruh roh!reply 13009/06/2011

I think Shacknai and his brother did it together or the brother made a pass at the gf and she rebuffed, he got pissed and killed her. The other thing that is hazy is where was bf during time of death. They've put him at the hospital during the discovery of the body according to the intrepid Jane Velez Mitchell.

by Ruh roh!reply 13109/06/2011

So what are the odds this thing gets reopened?

by Ruh roh!reply 13209/06/2011

I think they will have to with all the scrutiny the media is putting on it. They will like either idiots or crooks.

by Ruh roh!reply 13309/06/2011

Another interesting thing is that during the investigation stock in his company plummeted and once the police said suicide all was well again. It's plausible they were under pressure.

by Ruh roh!reply 13409/07/2011

Who was under pressure, R134 -- the company or the cops?

by Ruh roh!reply 13509/07/2011

Maybe the company and CEO was putting pressure on the cops.

by Ruh roh!reply 13609/07/2011

The Forbes blog didn't mention it, but there was also blood found between her legs. The cops insist that there was no "genital mutilation," but didn't say how the blood get there.

by Ruh roh!reply 13709/07/2011

Apparently the family has painted over the "suicide note" and so there can be no handwriting analysis. Surely there is paint residue left behind? Zahau's family state it is not her handwriting.

by Ruh roh!reply 13809/07/2011

Also where did the paint come from? How come with other crimes things are tracked down to the stores the item was bought from to see who purchased it? If I were the citizens of Coronado I would be concerned that the police are incompetent or corrupt.

by Ruh roh!reply 13909/07/2011

I have a bad feeling about this.

by Ruh roh!reply 14009/07/2011

Jonah Shacknai's actions immediately following "suicide" inconsistent according to experts on JVM tonight. Talking head defense attorney still insists it's a suicide.

by Ruh roh!reply 14109/07/2011

and now it's come out she died on her back? Oh, yeah, the police better reopen this thing.

by Ruh roh!reply 14209/07/2011

This is so obviously a cover up by the cops. They are so fucking screwed now since it's obvious this woman was murdered.

by Ruh roh!reply 14309/07/2011

Unless something happens to shake the cops out of their smug little stance about science not "lying," the people of Coronado are screwed, and it is just a matter of time before we all are.

by Ruh roh!reply 14409/07/2011

[quote] Unless something happens to shake the cops out of their smug little stance about science not "lying," the people of Coronado are screwed

Coronado is not a real place, just an island across a bridge from San Diego proper.

by Ruh roh!reply 14509/07/2011

[quote]Coronado is not a real place, just an island across a bridge from San Diego proper.

How is an island "not a real place" R145? Is it like Bali Hai?

by Ruh roh!reply 14609/07/2011

Forensic Pathologist Wecht Tells Fox 10 His Take on Coronado Case Lieutenant makes interesting statement Wed. night

Updated: Thursday, 08 Sep 2011, 8:09 AM MST Published : Thursday, 08 Sep 2011, 8:07 AM MST

PHOENIX - Both the son and girlfriend of Jonah Shacknai died inside his California home earlier this summer, and the San Diego Sheriff%E2%80%99s Department on Friday ruled that his girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, committed suicide.

But on Wednesday night, the Sheriff%E2%80%99s department made an interesting statement to .

At the new conference, law enforcement showed video, pictures and evidence, along with a panel of experts.

The Sheriff's Department said there was no need to keep the investigation open.

At the conference, the main statement made was: %E2%80%9COur responsibility is to answer one very important question -- were these deaths the result of criminal conduct? Was Max's (Shacknai's son) death a homicide? The answer is no. It was a tragic accident. Was Rebecca%E2%80%99s death a homicide? The answer again is no. It was a suicide.

%E2%80%9CNo additional evidence or information was received during the course of this investigation to believe foul play was involved in this investigation and event.%E2%80%9D

But the story doesn't end there. New details came out this week when Zahau%E2%80%99s autopsy was released showing she had bruises on her head and blood on her inner thighs.

Many people are now wondering if she really killed herself.

Then late Wednesday, Lt. Larry Nesbit with the San Diego Sheriff's Department made this statement to

%E2%80%9CJust because we made our findings last week that her death was a suicide doesn't mean that if new evidence was presented to us, that we wouldn't look into it. We would have an obligation to do so.

%E2%80%9CIt's really a matter of semantics. Just because we said the case was closed on Friday doesn't mean that we wouldn't open the investigation again.%E2%80%9D

Zahau's family wants the case reopened. They've hired their own team to look into this.

One person who doesn't agree with the suicide analysis is Dr. Cyril Wecht, a renowned forensic pathologist.

He speaks to Fox 10 by phone Thursday morning.

by Ruh roh!reply 14709/08/2011

Jane Velez-Mitchell discusses Rebecca Zahau death, actions of Jonah Shacknai

New York, NY %E2%80%93 The mysterious death of Rebecca Zahau at a California mansion in July continues to make headlines, as many question the assertion of authorities that she took her own life. On Wednesday, Jane Velez-Mitchell discussed Rebecca's death on her HLN show and the actions of Rebecca's billionaire boyfriend Jonah Shacknai.

%E2%80%9CHow and why would a beautiful woman %E2%80%93 a beautiful woman with no history of mental illness strip naked, bind her own hands and feet in elaborate knots that sailors normally use and then hang herself?%E2%80%9D Velez-MItchell pondered.

She added, %E2%80%9CInvestigators practically launched a public campaign to explain their ruling of suicide.%E2%80%9D

Dylan Howard, senior executive editor of 'Star' magazine spoke to Velez-Mitchell about the matter saying, %E2%80%9C...The San Diego Police Department are making noises that they are prepared to reopen this investigation in the event that new evidence is forthcoming... it%E2%80%99s interesting to note... they%E2%80%99re saying there is very little evidence to suggest this was anything beyond a suicide, as they initially concluded... we%E2%80%99ve also established at this time, a portrait of Jonah Shacknai, the billionaire businessman, the boyfriend of Rebecca Zahau, and his immediate actions in the aftermath of Rebecca being discovered at his mansion.%E2%80%9D

He continued, %E2%80%9CWhat we%E2%80%99ve been able to establish is that Jonah Shacknai told... Rebecca's sister%E2%80%99s husband that he immediately concluded that she had committed suicide. What%E2%80%99s more, he also hired a private investigator who went to collect, on the day Rebecca died, the couple%E2%80%99s dog from a dog daycare facility... it shows a level of inconsistency about his story. Because on the one hand, here he is hiring a private investigator, seemingly concerned about the suspicious nature of his girlfriend%E2%80%99s death, yet, at the same time immediately declaring it a suicide to her family.%E2%80%9D

On July 13, Rebecca was found hanging nude from a balcony at the Coronado, Calif. Spreckels mansion, which is owned by her boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai. She had a red rope wrapped around her neck, was reportedly gagged with a t-shirt that was around the ligature and her hands and feet were bound.

Just days before, on July 11, Max Shacknai, 6, Jonah's son, while in Rebecca's care tripped and rolled over a balcony at the home and grabbed a chandelier as he fell.

Authorities speculate that Rebecca committed suicide after hearing a voice mail indicating Max was about to succumb to his injuries, which he did on July 16.

%E2%80%9C...the medical examiner addressed all the questions people had after they said it was a suicide, and they offered explanations for each of these doubts,%E2%80%9D Velez-Mitchell said of a statement released by the coroner Tuesday after officials conducted a news conference Friday deeming Rebecca's death a suicide.

She noted that suicide is doubted by many who've read the autopsy because tape residue was found on both of Rebecca's legs and she had several head injuries that created bruising on her scalp.

Attorney Ann Bremner, who's representing Rebecca's family also appeared on the show and said %E2%80%9C...we%E2%80%99ve heard from experts all over... who say this doesn%E2%80%99t pass the smell test. I have been inundated with information, and experts have been hiring experts for the family, including Dr. Cyril Wecht, who said that it should at best be undetermined. Those blows to the top of her head. She%E2%80%99s bound, gagged, taped, she was bleeding.%E2%80%9D

Bremner added, would be great if they would reopen the case. That%E2%80%99s what we%E2%80%99ve been asking for... so it%E2%80%99s a great day if that%E2%80%99s going to happen, for the family and for me.%E2%80%9D

Criminal defense attorney Roy Black chimed in on the matter, noting, %E2%80%9CFour separate police agencies took a look into this case... everybody now has all kinds of opinions and theories about it. But there are certain incontrovertible facts that I think substantiate the fact that this is a suicide.'


by Ruh roh!reply 14809/08/2011


Black continued, %E2%80%9CRebecca was a young woman who was considered to be a health nut, who aggressively worked out. She was pretty strong, pretty tough. In order to tie her hands behind her, tie her feet, put a rope around her neck and throw her over a balcony, you%E2%80%99d have to put up quite a fight with her to do that.. They took ten samples of DNA from the ropes around her feet, around her hands, on the bedside where the rope is tied. Numerous places. They only came back to her. Not a single flake from anybody else.

Black also mentioned the message investigators found painted in black on a bedroom door which read, %E2%80%9CShe Saved Him Can You Save Her,%E2%80%9D saying, %E2%80%9CThe fingerprints, they%E2%80%99re on the door going into that room. They%E2%80%99re on the bedpost where the rope is tied. They%E2%80%99re on the paint tube, which she used to paint this message. Nobody else's fingerprints are anywhere else... the balcony where she was on was extremely dirty, according to the police and the photographs that I looked at. Hers are the only footprints on there, showing in a V-type manner how she stood right behind the railing and then tipped herself over.%E2%80%9D

Bremner responded to Black's assertion and said, %E2%80%9C...the fact is, she died on her back, the experts are saying. She probably was dead when she went over. She didn%E2%80%99t have a broken neck. There%E2%80%99s no fingerprints from the perpetrator because they probably wore gloves... She didn%E2%80%99t write that note. Her family says it%E2%80%99s not her handwriting. The fact that she had no depression, no suicidal ideation, no kind of psychiatric defect or issue before this... The family says no way she knew how to do slip knots, square knots, seafaring type of knots. And the footprints on the balcony... there%E2%80%99s two together, but then it%E2%80%99s just a partial kind of toe print right before the side...%E2%80%9D

Black referenced reports that Rebecca had received a voice mail shortly before her death, which indicated Max was about to die from his injures, noting the news could have been so traumatic for her she decided to commit suicide.

%E2%80%9C...there%E2%80%99s no phone message,%E2%80%9D Bremner argued. %E2%80%9CIt%E2%80%99s erased... so there%E2%80%99s no evidence that she was told anything. There%E2%80%99s just nothing.... then the third party, she saved him, can you save her on the note?%E2%80%9D

Bremner added, %E2%80%9C...I believe in... thoroughness... they%E2%80%99re not done with the investigation. Seven short weeks and they say suicide... experts didn%E2%80%99t look at anything else in terms of any other possibilities. They didn%E2%80%99t even check her footprints against her own foot. They didn%E2%80%99t look at other people%E2%80%99s fingerprints... I mean this is just something that needs to be completed... maybe they conclude at the end of the day, it%E2%80%99s a suicide. I don%E2%80%99t think they will.%E2%80%9D

by Ruh roh!reply 14909/08/2011

This Daily Mail articles has many photos of the scene:

by Ruh roh!reply 15009/08/2011

Shacknai hired detective, ritual killing theory forwarded

Date: Thursday, September 8, 2011, 6:19am MST

New reports are out on the mysterious deaths of Rebecca Zahau and Max Shacknai at the home of his father, Scottsdale-based Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp Latest from The Business Journals Shacknai hired private detective after deaths, ritual killing theory put forwardZahau family disputes suicide conclusionShacknai attorney wants to quiet Zahau family lawyer Follow this company . CEO Jonah Shacknai.

%E2%80%A2 reports that the Scottsdale CEO hired private investigator to look into the deaths of Zahau, 32, and Max Shacknai, 6. Zahau was Jonah Shacknai%E2%80%99s girlfriend. She was found hanging naked and bound from second floor balcony at Shacknai%E2%80%99s San Diego mansion.

San Diego police have ruled her death a suicide brought on after becoming distraught by severe and later fatal injuries suffered by Max after he fell at the same California residence.

%E2%80%A2 ABC News, meanwhile, interviewed a forensics expert who says Zahau%E2%80%99s death may have been a ritualistic killing -- noting that she was naked, bound and there was evidence on the autopsy report of some wounds to the head as well as tape residue. Zahau%E2%80%99s family disputes the suicide conclusion reached by the San Diego County Sheriff%E2%80%99s Office.

The autopsy also shows a T-shirt used to hang Zahau had been in her mouth. The ABC story also references the cryptic note painted in black on a door near where Zahau was found hanging. It reads, %E2%80%9CShe Saved Him Can You Save Her.%E2%80%9D

%E2%80%A2 CNN%E2%80%99S Headline News and Radar Online were also reporting Wednesday afternoon that San Diego investigators are willing to reopen the case if they receive additional information or leads.

Shacknai lives in San Diego during the summer months and Paradise Valley the rest of the year. Medicis is based in Scottsdale.

Links at link

by Ruh roh!reply 15109/08/2011

For some reason THEY OMITTED that she had a gag, tape residue and blood on her legs, Also she is stated to have used unique MARINE knots on the rope. Oh YEAH, it's an OBVIOUS suicide all right!

by Ruh roh!reply 15209/08/2011

Now Jonah Shacknai is threatening to sue dead girlfriend's family if they don't shut up. He's guilty as shit.

by Ruh roh!reply 15309/08/2011

A Lesson in Saving Face: Zahau Case Will Reopen if New Lead

When businesses realize that they%E2%80%99ve made strategic errors or have foolishly delivered ultimatums from which they cannot honorably back down, they usually manage to locate %E2%80%9Cnew%E2%80%9D evidence or witnesses to justify reconsidering bad business decisions or returning to the bargaining table.

Another face-saving tactic is to call prior principled positions %E2%80%9Cmatters of semantics.%E2%80%9D No one believes it, but everyone is pleased that a thorny unanswered question has once again been placed on the table for resolution.

That%E2%80%99s what appears to be happening in the bizarre case of Rebecca Zahau, the recently deceased girlfriend of pharmaceutical mogul Jonah Shacknai, CEO of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp.

Only yesterday, Lt. Larry Nesbit of the San Diego County Sheriff%E2%80%99s Department insisted that newly released information from Zahau%E2%80%99s autopsy report did not give the Department any reason to question its conclusion that Zahau had committed suicide nor to reconsider its decision to close the case.

%E2%80%9CThere%E2%80%99s Only One Conclusion,%E2%80%9D Unless, Of Course . . .

As the Daily Beast reported, Nesbit insisted that %E2%80%9C[w]hen you apply science to [the evidence] there is only one conclusion you can come to.%E2%80%9D And that conclusion was suicide.

Many observers, including the famous forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, were not %E2%80%9Ccontent%E2%80%9D with the speedy suicide analysis in the unprecedented hanging death of a naked young woman whose legs and feet were bound and whose mouth was gagged before she allegedly jumped or fell off a balcony to her death.

A flurry of press coverage raised numerous doubts about the Sheriff%E2%80%99s decision to accept the San Diego Medical Examiner%E2%80%99s suicide finding and close the case to further investigation. Some of that coverage included the Department%E2%80%99s videotaped recreation of Zahau%E2%80%99s purported self-binding as featured in Jezebel%E2%80%99s coverage of her mysterious death, Does This Sound Like a Suicide to You?

Doing the Right Thing

Late today, Nesbit told RadarOnline that if the Department %E2%80%9Cget[s] a new lead . . . or a new witness comes forward, [they] would absolutely look into [it].%E2%80%9D Nesbit explained,

Just because we made our findings last week that her death was a suicide, doesn%E2%80%99t mean that if new evidence was presented to us, that we wouldn%E2%80%99t look into [it].

We would have an obligation to do so. It%E2%80%99s really a matter of semantics, just because we said the case was closed on Friday, doesn%E2%80%99t mean that we wouldn%E2%80%99t open the investigation again.

Cease and Desist Letter to Zahau%E2%80%99s Family Doesn%E2%80%99t Stop Sheriff

Whether Zahau committed suicide or is the victim of foul play is apparently once again an open question due to the efforts of her family and their attorney Anne Bremner, efforts which Shacknai%E2%80%99s attorney characterized as a %E2%80%9Cmedia barrage%E2%80%9D in a cease and desist letter reportedly sent by Dan Webb to Bremner yesterday.

In that letter, Webb is reported to have demanded that Bremner %E2%80%9Cstop what he calls %E2%80%98false, public and damaging statements%E2%80%99 about Shacknai.%E2%80%9D Whether or not the Sheriff was made aware of the letter, it%E2%80%99s doubtful that there would have been a different outcome.

Having seen back-tracking of this sort by the authorities, business people and professionals for most of my legal career, I%E2%80%99ll wager any little piece of %E2%80%9Cnew%E2%80%9D evidence or any new or re-framed statement by a witness will do. The Sheriff%E2%80%99s premature closing of the case was an embarrassing public blunder and the Department is doing the right thing by announcing its willingness to reopen the matter.

The historic Spreckels Mansion whose balcony Zahau is said to have jumped (or fallen) from, is, by the way, on the market for $16.9 million. Shacknai%E2%80%99s company may also be on the market having been the target of a possible takeover by Valeant Pharmaceuticals this August.

by Ruh roh!reply 15409/08/2011

Rebecca Zahau's Death a Ritualistic Killing?

by Ruh roh!reply 15509/08/2011

Jonah killed her or had her killed as revenge for his son's death on her watch. His brother, a tug boat operator, would be familiar with elaborate knots like those used to bind the victim. Case closed.

by Ruh roh!reply 15609/08/2011

Shacknai's revenge --

Power is out in all of San Diego County

by Ruh roh!reply 15709/08/2011

I want this to go on trial so bad that it feels like I have to pee.

A side note: I don't know how a square knot or slip knot could be described as specifically nautical knowledge or even slightly difficult, but I do think he killed her.

by Ruh roh!reply 15809/08/2011

We need a presumption that the rich guy did it because 95% of the time, we'll be right.

by Ruh roh!reply 15909/08/2011

Rebecca Zahau%E2%80%99s Boyfriend Warns He Might Sue Her Family%E2%80%99s Lawyer


A lawyer for pharmaceutical mogul Jonah Shacknai has sent an email to the lawyer representing the family of his dead girlfriend, whose body was found at his historic mansion, threatening to sue if her family%E2%80%99s lawyer doesn%E2%80%99t stop insinuating that Shacknai influenced the probe into her death.

The body of Shacknai%E2%80%99s girlfriend Rebecca Zahau, 32, was found on the grounds of his Spreckels Mansion in Coronado, Calif., July 13. She died two days after Shacknai%E2%80%99s young son fell down the stairs of the mansion, suffering fatal head injuries.

A police investigation determined Zahau%E2%80%99s death was a suicide, but her family has hired lawyer Anne Bremner who has raised questions about the death and has pressed police to reopen the case. has obtained an email lawyer Dan K. Webb of the law firm Winston & Strawn LLP sent to Bremner Tuesday morning warning that %E2%80%9Cyour false public statements constitute defamation, per se, and under law, entitle Mr. Shacknai to recover from you, and your law firm, substantial damages.%E2%80%9D

%E2%80%9CWhat is most concerning are recent false public statements you have made that Mr. Shacknai, because of his business success, has somehow improperly influenced the investigations%E2%80%A6 You have further made public comments that these agencies have applied a different standard in conducting their investigations because of Mr. Shacknai%E2%80%99s wealth,%E2%80%9D the letter said.

Webb called Bremner%E2%80%99s statements %E2%80%9Chighly insensitive on a human level. Mr. Shacknai and his family have suffered two tragic losses under the harsh and unkind glare of a national media frenzy you have now helped sustain.%E2%80%9D

Bremner responded to the allegations Thursday night, telling, %E2%80%9CI haven%E2%80%99t said anything about his wealth nor have I said anything that could be considered false or defamatory %E2%80%A6 We are simply seeking the truth and justice.%E2%80%9D

In the email, Webb emphasized that he was not advocating that Bremner%E2%80%99s clients accept the results of the police investigation. %E2%80%9CThey are, of course, entitled to their point of view regarding this matter,%E2%80%9D he wrote.

The email concludes with, %E2%80%9CYou must cease and desist from making any further false public statements about Mr. Shacknai.%E2%80%9D

A spokesman for Shacknai, Terry Fahn, declined to comment.

In July when police arrived at Shacknai%E2%80%99s mansion they found Zahau on the back lawn, her hands tied behind her back and her feet bound. Her body had been cut down by her boyfriend%E2%80%99s brother, Adam Shacknai, who was staying at the home. A message in black paint on a bedroom near where Zahau was found hanging said, %E2%80%9CShe saved him can you save her?%E2%80%9D

The autopsy report also states there were hemorrhages under Zahau%E2%80%99s scalp, tape residue and blood on her legs, and a T-shirt that was wrapped around Zahau%E2%80%99s neck had been partially stuffed in her mouth.

by Ruh roh!reply 16009/09/2011

Hmmm ... hubby has a history of physically abusing his first wife, and now his second is dead.

by Ruh roh!reply 16109/09/2011

Someone at R160's link made a good point. If this Shacknai person truly loved his gf wouldn't he want the absolute truth to come out? Why would he not encourage a thorough investigation if evidence of foul play came out and his attorney is the one who brought up wealth and position, not the family's attorney.

by Ruh roh!reply 16209/10/2011

R162, good call. Somebody who was REALLY innocent would be more concerned about his girlfriend possibly having been murdered than about his reputation.

by Ruh roh!reply 16309/10/2011

Old men purchasing a young wife are always suspect.

by Ruh roh!reply 16409/10/2011

(Reuters) - The ex-husband and relatives of the woman found hanged, bound and nude at the mansion of a wealthy pharmaceutical executive are seeking donations for a private investigation to challenge the official ruling of her death as a suicide.

A lawyer representing family members of Rebecca Zahau said on Thursday that a confidential coroner's report she obtained reveals several pieces of previously undisclosed evidence that cast doubt on conclusions reached by sheriff's investigators.

Relatives of Zahau have said since the official probe of her death concluded late last week that they did not believe the official finding that she had taken her own life at the estate of her boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai, founder and CEO of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp.

The Arizona-based company is the maker of the popular wrinkle filler Restylane and the acne treatment Solodyn.

The bizarre death on July 13 came two days after Shacknai's 6-year-old son Max was critically injured in a fall from a staircase while being looked after by Zahau at the mansion near San Diego. The boy died six days later.

Last Friday, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore held a news conference to announce that foul play had been ruled out in both deaths. Investigators concluded that Zahau had committed suicide hours after learning in a late-night phone call that Max, then still hospitalized, had taken a turn for the worse.

They even released an unusual video demonstration of how investigators believed Zahau, 32, had managed to tie her own hands behind her back before binding her own legs, slipping a noose around her neck, and hurling herself off a second-story balcony.

Her lifeless, nude body was found suspended by the neck from a rope later that morning by Shacknai's brother, a guest at the estate at the time.

This week, relatives of Zahau and her former husband, Neil Nalepa, set up a website seeking donations "to help us fight to get justice for ... Rebecca."

"It was obvious that the sheriff's department had worked too hard to paint this picture of suicide, and they were not about to let the Zahaus ruin it," the website said. "Now the family is left to fight for justice themselves, and this fight is an expensive one."

Seattle-based lawyer Anne Bremner, who is representing Zahau's family, told Reuters on Thursday that she has retained "forensic and psychiatric experts to take another look at the findings and the underlying evidence."

She cited several bits of undisclosed evidence contained in the medical examiner's report, including that Zahau's body was found with a T-shirt stuffed into her mouth, residue of tape on her legs, signs of trauma to the top of her head and blood on her legs.

"Just on the facts, this doesn't pass the smell test," Bremner said of the suicide ruling.

Sheriff's investigators have said there were no signs of a struggle, sexual assault or drugs in her system and no indication that Zahau was incapacitated before she was hanged.

"Becky did not commit suicide. My sister was murdered," Zahau's sister, Snowem Horwath, said in an email from her home in Germany after the suicide ruling was announced. "We had a very normal conversation that evening ... I know my sister very well, and there is no way anyone can convince me that she did this to herself!"

by Ruh roh!reply 16509/10/2011

Rich bastards getting away with murder. No one else in this country would dare have law enforcement covering their ass.

These are the same morons who would say:

The body was decapitated, and it's limbs were bound together. We think it could be a suicide. We're not sure.

The writings on the frigging wall (no pun). I can't believe that they think this woman took off her clothes, tied her hands and legs, and then threw herself over the rail. Jesus Christ, what a country!

by Ruh roh!reply 16609/10/2011

It%E2%80%99s a simple case of leverage%E2%80%A6and math%0D %0D Looking at the San Diego Sheriff%E2%80%99s Department theory that Rebecca Zahau, after slipping a noose (that she made) over her head, wrapping that noose three times with a long-sleeve t-shirt, stuffing one sleeve in her mouth as a gag, then binding her own ankles and finally her own wrists, hopped to the railing of the balcony, leaned on her tip-toes over it until she did the last backflip of her life %E2%80%93 plummeting to a hanging suicide death. And we%E2%80%99re going to talk about physics, math, and what%E2%80%99 s missing from the medical examiner%E2%80%99s report.%0D %0D %0D The first thing that should be addressed is that the medical examiner actually never tells us how Rebecca Zahau died. I%E2%80%99m speaking of the medical reason she died. Did she die of asphyxiation caused by a severed spinal cord? Did she die of blunt force trauma during the fall? In the powerpoint presented by the medical examiner at the dog and pony show last week this is what he said: she died of hanging, and it was suicide. But the medical reason she died is not stated. What is also not stated is the specific injuries to Rebecca%E2%80%99s neck. This is the entire statement concerning any injuries to the neck:%0D %0D %0D Neck injuries were consistent with a drop from that height as opposed to %E2%80%9Cusual%E2%80%9D hanging.%0D %0D %0D That%E2%80%99s it. We don%E2%80%99t know if this means (since the ME doesn%E2%80%99t define %E2%80%9Cusual hanging%E2%80%9D ) her spinal cord was not severed, if she died of asphyxiation, strangulation%E2%80%A6we simply don%E2%80%99t know. We just know%E2%80%A6she was hung, and she died and it%E2%80%99s her fault.%0D %0D %0D (cont)

by Ruh roh!reply 16709/11/2011

The Math%0D %0D The theory presented about how and why Rebecca committed suicide goes as follows if we combine all the statements made by both the people who actually talked to her (her sister) and what law enforcement tells us happened.%0D %0D %0D From Rebecca%E2%80%99s sister %E2%80%93 At approximately midnight Rebecca Zahau talks with her sister on the phone. She updates her sister about Max and tells her sister they are staying positive and she is going to the hospital the next day to support Max. She tells her she will call or text the family the next day with updates on Max. Rebecca%E2%80%99s sister states that Rebecca was not depressed, she was staying strong of spirit for a positive outlook on Max%E2%80%99s prognosis.%0D %0D %0D From law enforcement %E2%80%93 At approximately 12:50 a.m. Rebecca Zahau calls her cell phone voicemail and listens to a message left for her by someone that law enforcement chose not to identify. That message, according to LE, informed Rebecca that Max%E2%80%99s condition had become %E2%80%9Cgrave%E2%80%9D and that his death was imminent.%0D %0D %0D The ME chose not to even estimate, in the powerpoint they presented, a time of death. So we are stuck with (from the medical examiner%E2%80%99s office any way) that Rebecca Zahau died between 12:50 a.m. and 6:48 a.m. when Adam Shacknai tells law enforcement he discovered her hanging from the guest room balcony. If we consider statements made by forensic experts quoted by Forbes, then the EMTs%E2%80%99 reports that rigor mortis had set in her jaws would place her approximately 4 hours before they arrived at about 7 a.m., so she would have died somewhere around 3 a.m.%0D %0D %0D So, somewhere in the next 2 to 5 hours Rebecca, after hearing the message%E2%80%A6but not calling whomever told her this terrible news%E2%80%A6wait, let%E2%80%99s think about that a minute. Someone calls her between midnight and 12:50 a.m. and doesn%E2%80%99t get her %E2%80%93 she was either on the phone with her sister, or she had already gone to bed, right? something to that effect. They call and say %E2%80%9CMax is in grave condition%E2%80%A6he%E2%80%99s going to die any time now.%E2%80%9D One would assume that would be Jonah Shacknai, right? I don%E2%80%99t think Dina Shacknai would bother calling Rebecca %E2%80%93 do you? So Rebecca listens to the %E2%80%9Clove of her life%E2%80%9D tell her that Max is not going to survive and going to die at any time%E2%80%A6and she doesn%E2%80%99t call him back.%0D %0D %0D Okay, so instead of calling Jonah back (who I would assume would have been pretty heartbroken during that call, right?) she either goes to bed for a couple of hours, or immediately sets about her plan to end her own life in a humiliating, acrobatic, cryptic and marine-themed manner. AND WITH SOME AWESOME CLARITY OF MIND AND MATH SKILLS.%0D %0D %0D In her self-destructive, distraught frame of mind she was able to go to some location in the 27-room mansion (LE states %E2%80%9Cprobably the garage%E2%80%9D ) and locate a red marine rope. Total length of that rope unknown to us, because that%E2%80%99s just another piece of evidence the sheriff%E2%80%99s office has chosen not to share with us. Since there is no mention in the sheriff%E2%80%99s %E2%80%9Cshow%E2%80%9D (i.e. report?) that there was leftover rope, we are left to conclude%E2%80%A6there was no leftover rope.%0D %0D %0D This means that Rebecca then measured out the rope and estimated with sheer perfection the amount of rope needed to bind her ankles, the amount of rope to bind her wrists, and leave nothing but the maximum length to ensure when she back-flipped to her death she hung herself versus breaking both legs striking the ground.%0D %0D %0D Word problem for the suicidal:%0D %0D %0D You have X feet of red marine rope. In order to ensure your own death by hanging you must cut the following 2 pieces of rope from the total length X of rope, and leave Y feet of red marine rope sufficient to make a noose (Z) on one end, a slip-knot (A) on the other, run from a cast iron bed B feet from a railing that is C feet tall and result in suspending yourself D feet from the ground E feet below the railing height: first cut (length F) %E2%80%93 enough rope to bind your own wrists in a cleat-hitch knot with multiple wrappings, second cut (length G) %E2%80%93 enough rope to bind your own ankles with multiple wrappings in a cleat-hitch knot.%0D %0D Solve for F and G.%0D %0D %0D Rebecca did it%E2%80%A6.while distraught, suicidal, out of her mind enough to paint bizarre messages on doors while stripped naked and then back-flip her way into history.%0D %0D %0D And she did it %E2%80%9Cman style%E2%80%9D%E2%80%A6awesome slip-knot around the bed frame. Please note that she did not tie herself off to the bed LEG, nope%E2%80%A6just like Popeye the Sailor Man she could see that might not be best, she ran the rope around the leg and up through the bed frame itself and then tied a slip-knot that would make a Navy SEAL proud. Good deal she did that because if she hadn%E2%80%99t when her body weight jerked at the end of that rope and the bed lunged 7 inches from the wall, that leg would have lifted slightly off the floor and the rope could have slipped off. (Really bad consequences there because you might not end up all the way dead, just %E2%80%9Cmostly dead%E2%80%9D to quote Miracle Max from the Princess Bride).%0D

by Ruh roh!reply 16809/11/2011

The Physics%E2%80%A6%0D %0D %0D And then we get to the physics of the matter.%0D %0D %0D First she apparently stripped naked, painted her black-paint message on the door, got all up in the messy and got it on her hand and %E2%80%9Ctorso%E2%80%9D (because she was distraught) and then went about ridding the world of herself.%0D %0D %0D After tying off to the bed, forming a noose, slipping it over her head, wrapping the noose that was now around her neck three times with a long-sleeve t-shirt which she then stuffed the remaining sleeve portion in her mouth as a gag (for only God knows why), binding her ankles and then binding her wrists, she then hopped to the railing on the balcony, leaned on her tip-toes over the railing until her center of gravity shifted past the railing height and dropped to her death.%0D %0D %0D I guess the first thing that should be pointed out is that this would have been kind of difficult all by itself. First we have to establish where her center of gravity (cg) is. Based on the data shared here, her cg would have been below her belly button, closer to her pubic region and approximately 54% of her total height above her feet. She was 5 ft 3-1/2 inches tall. That means her cg would have been roughly 34-1/2 inches above her feet. A standard railing is around 37 to 38 inches tall. So, Rebecca had to get a point approximately 34-1/2 inches above her feet PAST (not at it, past it %E2%80%93 in order to %E2%80%9Cgo over%E2%80%9D she had to get her cg to go PAST the lever point) the railing height. That means she had to bend at the waist (no assist from her hands or arms) which is at or slightly above the belly button and then slip her body past that bending point by somewhere between 3 to 5 inches.%0D %0D %0D Once she did this, they said she dropped her death.%0D %0D %0D Only%E2%80%A6that%E2%80%99s not what she would have done. She wouldn%E2%80%99t just %E2%80%9Cdrop to her death%E2%80%9D. She would slide down the railing head-first until her center of gravity cleared the railing height and then started to back-flip. BUT because she has a noose around her neck leading toward her posterity and back to the bed, her body would want to flip against the rope at first until the rope made her body twist, preventing her from completing the back-flip but instead rolling against the rope. The rope should have bruised and/or abraded her right shoulder and possible as far down as her shoulder blade on her upper back. No such trauma was shared with us by the medical examiner.%0D %0D %0D The other scenario would be: her center of gravity (cg) sliding straight down head first until her feet cleared the bottom of the balcony at which time her feet and legs would have swung forward. In this scenario Rebecca would have suffered some form of trauma to the front of her body (bruising, abrasions or even lacerations) as her torso and then her legs and feet rubbed past the front of the cast iron railing %E2%80%93 and it%E2%80%99s got some pretty sharp edges. No such trauma was shared with us by the medical examiner.%0D %0D %0D Now, the difference between the two scenarios above would be: a %E2%80%9Cjerk%E2%80%9D in the first scenario that would have hastened death most likely, with the second scenario possibly resulting in a prolonged death due to the fact the rope could have begun to load with the upper portion of her body before her lower legs and feet cleared the bottom of the balcony. In other words, the %E2%80%9Cjerk%E2%80%9D would have been greatly decreased.%0D %0D %0D Of course, we don%E2%80%99t know which way she died, because the medical examiner didn%E2%80%99t tell us and didn%E2%80%99t share enough information from the autopsy for us to conclude which of the above two scenarios happened (i.e. additional trauma to the body). And while the sheriff%E2%80%99s department made a fancy-pants 3D model of how Max%E2%80%99s body would have reacted when he went over the stair railing and fell to what would result in his death, they didn%E2%80%99t bother making one to show us how Rebecca%E2%80%99s body would have reacted as she leaned her way to her death. Wonder why?%0D %0D %0D I would like to point out that I find it hard to believe the gag would stay in her mouth on the first scenario because when her body twisted her neck would have twisted within the noose and I do believe that would have jerked the t-shirt sleeve out of her mouth

by Ruh roh!reply 16909/11/2011

R168, Slip knots are not part of the basic training for sailors. Plus, I knew how to make a slip knot when I was a little kid. I figured it out on my own before I even studied them formally. I think she was murdered, but trying to emphasize the presence of a slip knot as unusual makes your argument seem less legitimate. The only basic knots that are taught to sailors are the bowline and the square knot (left over right, right over left, used commonly by most human beings to secure things.)

Are there any good websites about this mystery?

by Ruh roh!reply 17009/12/2011

Posts 165 - 169 should be published on the front page of all California newspapers.

by Ruh roh!reply 17109/12/2011

Maybe I'm missing something, but what does the message mean? It doesn't make sense to me.

by Ruh roh!reply 17209/12/2011

I don't think it makes sense to anyone -- we're supposed to concentrate on trying to figure out some cryptic nonsense while more evidence is destroyed.

by Ruh roh!reply 17309/12/2011

[quote]The only basic knots that are taught to sailors are the bowline and the square knot %0D %0D You would have flunked Navy or Coast Guard boot camp if you only knew those two knots.

by Ruh roh!reply 17409/12/2011

R174, Nope. You would flunk boatswain's mate school, but if you aren't going to be a deck hand (most sailors are not) the bowline and the square knot are indeed the only two knots require to pass basic training.

by Ruh roh!reply 17509/12/2011

The only part of the message that makes sense to me is that she was had her Weimaraner dog boarded that day and was crying nearly hystericly when she did. I don't remember where I read it, if I find it I'll post it. I remember thinking that maybe the dog had something to do with the kid going over the railing in the stairwell and the boyfriend was going have the dog put down and she saved the dog by getting it out of the house.

by Ruh roh!reply 17609/12/2011

I remember another guy on JVM, a dog sitter?, who said she was fine that day.

by Ruh roh!reply 17709/12/2011

Jonah Shacknai, the California millionaire whose son died in an accident and whose long-time girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, died in a mysterious hanging, has asked the California attorney general to review the investigation of their deaths.

Further investigation would be helpful in "bringing some clarity, dignity, and ultimately closure to the devastating deaths," Shacknai wrote in a letter sent to the attorney general Monday and obtained by ABC News.

"The circumstances of Rebecca's suicide were so unusual and upsetting that it was difficult to accept the hard facts that were presented."

Zahau, 32, was found hanging from a balcony in Shacknai's Coronado, Calif., mansion July 13. She was found nude with her wrists and feet bound with red rope. She allegedly scrawled black paint in a nearby bedroom: "she saved him can you save her."

Shacknai's 6-year-old son, Max, died from injuries sustained after falling down the stairs. His death was ruled an accident.

Zahau was babysitting Max when he tumbled down the stairs on July 11. Mary Zahau, her sister, said she called her soon after it happened.

"She said, 'I was in the bathroom and I heard this loud crash,'" Zahau said. "And she said, 'I came out and saw that Max was -- Max was on the floor. She sounded upset, but not frantic, not hysterical."

Mary's husband Doug Loehner said he spoke to Rebecca Zahau the next day when the little boy was in critical condition at the hospital.

"I told her like, you know, it's not your fault, you know, don't blame yourself," he said. "And she's like, no, I don't, I don't. I just have to be there for Jonah. She was upset, but she wasn't...she didn't blame herself."

Investigators concluded that Rebecca Zahau took her own life two days after Max's fall, saying she was riddled with guilt about his injuries and knowledge that his condition was grave.

Roy Black, a criminal defense attorney, has followed the case closely and examined the autopsy reports. He told ABC News that the police's conclusion Zahau committed suicide is "inescapable."

"The chances of someone wrapping a rope around her neck, dragging her up and throwing her over the balcony without her fighting back, without a single piece of evidence with no evidence of a struggle is virtually impossible," he said.

Many, including Zahau's family, have questioned the ruling of the death as a suicide. Zahau was found gagged and there was blood on her body and she suffered hemorrhages.

"You mean to tell me...somebody who's doing really well all 32 years of her life in a matter of two hours is going to do all this elaborate plan," said Mary Zahau.

The Zahau's family attorney Anne Bremner, who said that the case should be reopened, hired renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht to review Rebecca Zahau's autopsy report. Wecht, who has reviewed autopsies on women who have committed suicide for the past 50 years, disputed the findings.

"She has to get up on top of the railing and then fling herself over. Did she do that head first and then tumble and turn around? Did she go over feet first, I don't know. I would like to see reenactments. To my knowledge, she was not a member of Cirque du Soleil," she said.

Wecht also said that it is very uncommon for a woman to take her own life while nude.

"I can't tell you that it doesn't happen, but I can tell you that it is rare," Wecht said. "Women have a sense of propriety, of decorum, of dignity, even when they're committing suicide."

With so many questions from the media and Zahau's family, Shacknai felt compelled to write the letter to the attorney general. While he does not question the results of the initial investigation, Shacknai hopes a review of the methods and findings will "enhance the public's confidence" and "finally bring closure to these terrible tragedies."

"To be clear, I have no reason to doubt the San Diego and Coronado authorities' findings, and I remain appreciate of their dedication and professionalism throughout this process,"

by Ruh roh!reply 17809/20/2011

I doubt it was suicide. I'm not saying he did it but someone close to her killed or had her killed. I'm still looking at the brother or ex-wife.

by Ruh roh!reply 17909/20/2011

Tardface CEO:

by Ruh roh!reply 18009/21/2011

That's not tardface, that's Restylane face.

I believe this is what Jonah used to look like.

by Ruh roh!reply 18109/21/2011

Still had tardface before, R181.

by Ruh roh!reply 18209/21/2011

Didn't Patricia Arquette already solve this in her show Medium? It was the CEO's exwife, who wanted him back.

by Ruh roh!reply 18309/21/2011

WOW this is interesting...

Doctor says Shacknai's son was suffocated before he fellBy Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 3:17 AM on 23rd September 2011

The six-year-old son of Arizona pharmaceuticals tycoon Jonah Shacknai who died after a fall at his father's mansion may have suffocated, newly obtained search warrants suggest.

Max Shacknai was found unconscious at the base of the stairs at his father's vacation home in Coronado, California, where Shacknai's girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, was found dead two days later. Max's death was determined to be an accident by the San Diego Medical Examiner.

However, the boy's physician, Dr Brad Peterson of Rady’s Children’s Hospital, was quoted in a search warrant saying suffocation may have occurred prior his fall.

Read more:

by Ruh roh!reply 18409/22/2011

Why is this getting press in the UK and nothing here? WTF?

by Ruh roh!reply 18509/22/2011

[quote]Why is this getting press in the UK and nothing here?

I searched Shacknai at and found links to the LA Times and NBC, to start. I would guess that the Daily Mail is being linked on Datalounge because it's a scandal sheet that picks on celebrities who dress badly or have weight problems, so it always has source material for Datalounge threads.

by Ruh roh!reply 18609/23/2011

R184, interesting that there is now speculation that Zahau tried to suffocate the son, as suggested by the search warrant. If the search warrant was issued after Zahau's death and after public outcry over the suicide verdict, I would find the doctor's theory suspect.

by Ruh roh!reply 18709/26/2011

Well, I think someone murdered this woman but I have thought from the beginning that it was in retaliation for what she did to the kid. When I first read the circumstances of the boy's "accident," I thought the girlfriend helped him down the stairs. This makes more sense. She suffocated him and then threw him down the stairs to cover up the deed.

Her murder was clearly retaliation for that. She probably didn't want a 6-year-old stepson.

by Ruh roh!reply 18809/26/2011

This case is starting to unravel. She was going to be indicted for murder by a CPS investigation at the hospital. It is coming out that not only was she a gold digger but she bearded for and married a gay man. Does this man seem familiar to any of you? Nurse Neil Nalepa.

by Ruh roh!reply 18909/26/2011

She sure took some extra steps to disassociate herself from him once she was with her wealthy sugar daddy. She petitioned an Arizona court to reinstate her maiden name

while filing for divorce. They were together for eight years…yet no children. Did she use him for an American citizenship? Did he marry her for bearding purposes?

by Ruh roh!reply 19009/26/2011

Petitioning to reinstate a maiden name during a divorce, especially when there are no children, is not unusual.

by Ruh roh!reply 19109/26/2011

[quote]The Forbes blog didn't mention it, but there was also blood found between her legs. The cops insist that there was no "genital mutilation," but didn't say how the blood get there.

I think 7th grade health class can explain that.

by Ruh roh!reply 19209/26/2011

She's the latest martyr for neo-Christians.

by Ruh roh!reply 19309/27/2011

She was a beard for citizenship to the U.S.

by Ruh roh!reply 19409/27/2011

Jonah gave her a heads up that the authorities were going to arrest her the next day.

by Ruh roh!reply 19509/27/2011

Right, I see the same freepers who objected to Leisha Haily kissing her girlfriend are now weighing in on this thread with anti-immigtation comments.

Racism = homophobia = sexism.

I hate to sound like that "you are damaging women" troll, but they have a fucking point.

Asshole freepers - you guys are damaged. And you're only squirming because you know your day is up.

by Ruh roh!reply 19609/27/2011

Am I the only one who suspects that…

Having failed to put the “suicide” lie across, the murderers are now spinning it as “she had it coming”?

by Ruh roh!reply 19709/27/2011

Any updates on this case?

by Ruh roh!reply 19910/07/2011

I guess this story has fallen into the cracks. Too bad because, besides some justice still required for Rebecca Zahau, a big part of the story is how there hasn't been any formal accountability demanded of the police.

by Ruh roh!reply 20010/19/2011

The question, R201, is what evidence can you cite to show that she killed the child.

I say the child's father killed the boy and his brother killed the girlfriend and they are both getting away with murder.

What proof do you have that I am wrong?

by Ruh roh!reply 20210/19/2011

Assuming, you mean me, R203, I was simply rebutting R201 who said it's a waste of time and money to probe the possible murder of a "probable child killer."

In the absence of a thorough investigation is no more or less probable that the girlfriend killed the boy than that anyone else known to have been present killed either the boy or the girlfriend.

If she can be accused without evidence than so can the Shacknai brothers.

by Ruh roh!reply 20410/19/2011

I asked if it was really so bad to let sleeping dogs lie if there was additional evidence we don't have access to. There is no proof to show, because I am speculating. Information pointed to her being indicted for murder, guess you didn't catch that part? I suppose I wasn't hypothetical enough for you, when my guess is as good or bad as any.

by Ruh roh!reply 20510/19/2011

I guess the homeowner's brother had a role in the woman's death, R205. There is plenty of evidence that suggests she didn't commit suicide. Lets call a spade a spade: the case is being closed prematurely because the most likely suspects are too rich for the police to take on in a court of law.

by Ruh roh!reply 20610/19/2011

Rebecca Zahau's family seeks donations for exhumation and autopsy

October 25, 2011 | 4:49 pm

The family of Rebecca Zahau, the woman found dead at a Coronado mansion, is seeking public donations to pay the cost of having her body exhumed in hopes a new autopsy will prove that she did not commit suicide.

Phil McGraw is encouraging the family and plans to have the family on his "Dr. Phil" show in November, according to the CBS affiliate in San Diego that airs the popular show.

Zahau's family has rejected the findings of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, Coronado Police Department and San Diego County medical examiner that the 32-year-old hanged herself from the balcony at the home of her boyfriend, pharmaceutical executive Jonah Shacknai.

Her nude body was found on July 13, two days after Shacknai's 6-year-old son, Max, was injured in a fall at the home while under Zahau's care.

Law enforcement investigators concluded that, in a fit of despondency, Zahau killed herself after being told that the boy would not survive his injuries. He died four days later.

Zahau's family has asked the state attorney general's office to review the findings of the San Diego County law enforcement agencies. A similar request by Shacknai was rejected.

" was obvious that the sheriff's department had worked too hard to paint this picture of suicide and they were not about to let the Zahaus ruin it," says the family's website, "Now the family is left to fight for justice themselves and this fight is an expensive one."

The first step would be exhumation of the body from a grave in St. Joseph, Mo.

Noted pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht has volunteered to do the autopsy for free, according to a statement issued by Seattle-based attorney Anne Bremner, who also has a fundraising website, Wecht is known for his controversial opinions about the deaths of President Kennedy, Elvis Presley and JonBenet Ramsey.

by Ruh roh!reply 20710/25/2011

"There is no proof to show, because I am speculating. Information pointed to her being indicted for murder, guess you didn't catch that part?"

Sonny, don't you know what "spin" is, what someone with money and connections can plant in the media?

Maybe there was evidence against her, but IMHO it's lies from the weatlhy family's laywer. Nobody bouht the suicide story, so the backup plan is to say she had it coming.

by Ruh roh!reply 20810/25/2011

I wonder what effect this has on the property price.

by Ruh roh!reply 20910/26/2011

They exhumed the body. You wonder how much info they'll be able to get though, given that she's been dead and decomposing for weeks.

by Ruh roh!reply 21010/27/2011

R197 you're not the only one. Until CPS comes forward to verify findings, etc, they're just throwing shit out to distract the media.

by Ruh roh!reply 21110/27/2011

Did anyone see the Dr. Phil on which the family appeared?

by Ruh roh!reply 21210/27/2011

Where exactly did the allegations that she had suffocated the boy and thrown him down the stairs come from? Is there any record from the hospital about this or any coroner's report? The boy's physician speculated that he may have been suffocated before the fall down the stairs, but on what basis? I assume he saw the boy in the hospital when he was in a coma, but can a doctor tell that there has been suffocation from an external examination or looking down the child's throat? Presumably, if he had been strangled there were be bruising or markings on his neck. I haven't read any evidence of this.

[quote]Jonah gave her a heads up that the authorities were going to arrest her the next day.

How do you know this?

by Ruh roh!reply 21310/28/2011

She was very pretty and looks peaceful in that photo at r210's link. It's sad to look at her face and think about the horror she must have experienced before her death.

The whole thing was extreme overkill, don't you think? Which police say usually means her killer knew her. My assumption is that someone in the family blamed her for the kid's accident, whether she was reponsible or not, and determined that she should pay.

Another possibility that just occurred to me: She knew something about the kid's accident and she was killed to keep her from telling the story.

by Ruh roh!reply 21410/28/2011

If there was no kid, wouldn't the brother be the heir?

by Ruh roh!reply 21510/28/2011

That hadn't occurred to me, R215. Duh. The knots in her noose were of a maritime variety that he would have been familiar with as a commercial tug boat operator.

by Ruh roh!reply 21610/28/2011

If this was a Criminal Minds episode, the CEO would have just been diagnosed with cancer, and the brother, to get control of the company and other assets, would have killed the boy in what looked like an accident, and the girlfriend in what looked like a suicide.

The brother's lover, also in line to benefit, would be the local police chief.

by Ruh roh!reply 21710/29/2011

Cyril Wecht performs new Rebecca Zahau autopsy amidst Doctor Phil controversy

Joel Siegfried

News Analysis Examiner

October 28, 2011

A second autopsy was performed on the remains of Rebecca Zahau on Friday, October 28, 2011 in Pittsburgh, PA by forensic pathologist Doctor Cyril Wecht, according to reports published on this date by The Washington Post, ABC News, KGTV 10News San Diego, Radar Online, and other media sources.

The 32-year-old Zahau was found hanging from an inner courtyard balcony at a beachfront home located at 1043 Ocean Boulevard in Coronado, CA belonging to her lover, pharmaceutical CEO Jonah Shacknai, early on the morning of Wednesday, July 13, 2011.

Although her arms and legs were bound, a blue T-shirt was shoved into the naked woman's mouth as a gag, and she had no history or indication of depression, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department determined the woman's death to be a suicide, and announced that they were closing their investigation into the case at a media conference on Friday, September 2, 2011.

The autopsy which 80-year-old Dr. Wecht performed, with funds raised by the Zahau family, although he waived his own usual fee of $500 an hour, has stirred up controversy over the source of financing for the investigation, which was originally attributed to television talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw, as seen in the attached slide show and ABC News video clip which accompany this report.

While Dr. Phil attempted to side step that issue, the show's producers admitted that they had made a contribution to the Rebecca Zahau Fund, in much the same way they had earlier donated $250,000 to a fund established by George and Cindy Anthony to help with legal expenses for their daughter Casey Marie Anthony, in her first degree murder trial in which she was acquitted killing 2-year-old Caylee Anthony.

The Anthony grandparents later appeared as guests on the Dr. Phil TV series to record Nielsen ratings.

According to Radar Online, there was more fallout which resulted from Dr. Phil's involvement in the case.

Dr. Maurice Godwin, whom the Zahau family had retained to uncover evidence to help reopen the investigation, and whose findings we had reported upon extensively in previous dispatches, was unceremoniously dropped from further participation.

Dr. Godwin confirmed his removal in an interview with Radar Online, saying "I have been forced off the Zahau case. It appears that there is a clique of people who now have been picked by the family team. The Dr. Phil show put one of their investigators on the case. I was also excluded from the Dr. Phil show after they read my analysis, despite the fact that the unknown shoe print ridges on the balcony that I found is the only evidence anyone currently has that puts another person on the balcony with Rebecca."

Another effect of the influential Dr. Phil involvement has been to put an apparent damper on comments from the Zahau family attorney, Anne Bremner, who has not responded to our inquiries, or those from other media outlets since news broke about these new developments.

Dr. Cyril Wecht has stated to ABC News that the original San Diego County Sheriff's Department findings of suicide was a "rush to judgment."

That may be part of the reason why Dr. Wecht himself is taking his time to compare his own findings with the original 19-page autopsy report, case number 11-01517, that was conducted by Dr. Jonathan Lucas on July 14, 2011.


by Ruh roh!reply 21810/29/2011


Medical experts claim that a second autopsy can never be as thorough as an original forensic examination because all of Zahau's internal organs have been removed and all of the major organs would have been already dissected during the first autopsy.

However, Ms. Zahau's body was embalmed prior to her burial near Saint Joseph, MO on Sunday, July 24, 2011, and there should not be extensive tissue deterioration, according to Dr. James Lauridson, an Alabama forensic consultant who has conducted autopsies on 10 exhumed bodies during his 25 years of experience as a forensic pathologist.

"At this point, what the second autopsy is going to add is a further delineation of injuries, primarily to the limbs and tissues of the skin and muscles," said Dr. Lauridson, in an interview with ABC News. "Looking at the timing of those injuries and the distribution of those injuries may suggest there is more than one person involved in this, or that this amounted to an assault."

Even more troubling is the manner in which Ms. Zahau was found hanging. Dr. Lauridson called this "highly suspicious," because, from his experience, bodies are usually found hanging a short distance from where they were anchored. The rope around Zahau's neck, however, was 9 feet, 2 inches long. "A long-drop hanging is just like, wow -- I personally have never seen a suicide do a long drop," he said.

Even in death, Rebecca Zahau has not been finally laid to rest, and for her family there are still many unanswered questions.

Some of these may be discussed in November by Dr. Phil McGraw, but the Zahau family is hoping that the case will eventually be reopened, and if found to be a homicide, that persons responsible for Rebecca's death will be brought to justice.

by Ruh roh!reply 21910/29/2011

Link 1: Slide Show

by Ruh roh!reply 22010/29/2011

Link 2: video

by Ruh roh!reply 22110/29/2011


by Ruh roh!reply 22210/31/2011

[quote] It looks like she had a shady past from way back.

What are you talking about, r201? Elaborate please.

by Ruh roh!reply 22310/31/2011

Coronado's Spreckels mansion, site of high-profile death, is sold

November 1, 2011 | 10:27 am

The historic home in Coronado at the center of a high-profile death case is being sold to investors who plan to refurbish the 27-room, 12,750-square-foot mansion for resale. Sale price was not disclosed.

The Ocean Boulevard house, built for philanthropist and sugar baron John D. Spreckels in the early 1900s, was purchased two years ago by pharmaceutical executive Jonah Shacknai.

Shacknai's girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, 32, was found hanging from an upstairs balcony on July 13. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department and San Diego County medical examiner have ruled the death a suicide.

Zahau's family arranged for a second autopsy in hopes of disproving that conclusion. The results of that autopsy are set to be announced on the "Dr. Phil" television show.

Zahau's death came two days after Shacknai's 6-year-old son, Max, was fatally injured in a fall at the Spreckels mansion.

After the two deaths, Shacknai and his children returned to their home in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Coronado mansion was listed at $14.5 million.

by Ruh roh!reply 22411/01/2011

Dr. Cyril Wecht is on Dr. Phil with the results of the second autopsy performed on the girlfriend. In his opinion not suicide but foul play. Four heavy blows to the head and her neck did not break like it should from a plummet of several feet especially on a delicately built woman. PI hired said several neighbors reported a woman screaming "help". Also said he's never seen a woman commit suicide nude. Really laying into the cops investigation. Either willful overlooking of evidence or really dumb.

by Ruh roh!reply 22511/15/2011

This is why we can't have nice things.

by Ruh roh!reply 22611/15/2011

I can't believe the police and the murderer (the brother?) are getting away with this.

Where's the public outrage?

by Ruh roh!reply 22711/15/2011

New info:

Mother of boy killed in mansion fall claims 'new information' July 17, 2012 | 11:59 am increase text size decrease text size

Boy dies at Coronado mansion An attorney representing the mother of a 6-year-old boy who fell to his death at a Coronado mansion last year said her client had information leading her to believe the boy's death was not an accident.

The remarks came Monday — the one-year anniversary of Max Shacknai's death — at a news conference in Phoenix, where his mother, Dina Shacknai, spoke publicly for the first time about the incident.

Dina Shacknai's lawyer, Angela Hallier, told reporters her client had information from "privately retained experts," making her "certain that the accident scenario ... is inaccurate." She declined to provide details, saying they had requested a meeting with Coronado police.

Max was injured July 11, 2011, after falling down the grand staircase at the historic Spreckels mansion then owned by his father, pharmaceutical executive Jonah Shacknai, who split his time between Phoenix and Coronado. Two days later, the naked body of the father's live-in girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, 32, was found hanging from a second-story balcony at the mansion.

The boy died of his injuries July 16, 2011.

The deaths triggered intense scrutiny and public speculation, even after officials declared Max's death an accident and Zahau's a suicide. Dina Shacknai held the news conference Monday to announce the creation of a nonprofit in her son's honor. Maxie's H.O.U.S.E. will work to provide resources for parents and children that "focus on the protection and safety of children from blended families regardless of which parent and caregiver they are with," she said during the Phoenix news conference.

Shacknai told reporters she had asked to meet with her ex-husband's girlfriend after learning how much time Max was spending with Zahau. She didn't feel comfortable after the meeting, she said, because Zahau gave her some "inaccurate" information about her past.

"Not wanting to go back to the courts, I sat down with Jonah to see what we could do to help me feel more comfortable with having Max ... be around Rebecca," she said, adding she initially asked her ex-husband that he not leave Max alone with Zahau.

Max was in Zahau's care at the time of the fall, authorities said.

"This is exactly why I founded Maxie's H.O.U.S.E.," Shacknai said. "Maxie's legacy reminds us of how undeniably important it is that every child have the right to be safe in their own home, wherever that home is."

by Ruh roh!reply 22807/17/2012

[quote]Dina Shacknai held the news conference Monday to announce the creation of a nonprofit in her son's honor. Maxie's H.O.U.S.E. will work to provide resources for parents and children that "focus on the protection and safety of children from blended families regardless of which parent and caregiver they are with," she said during the Phoenix news conference.


by Ruh roh!reply 22907/17/2012

Already posted this in another Shacknai thread, but it looks like it'd fit in more in this thread.

Mom looks to be blaming dead girlfriend for son's death.

by Ruh roh!reply 23008/08/2012

I have always thought that the girlfriend killed the son. Rather it was by accident or on purpose I'm not sure.

I have also always thought that the gf's death was revenge!

by Ruh roh!reply 23108/08/2012

After the mom opened Maxie's H.O.O.U.S.E, I waited to hear what Zhau's family had to say --


by Ruh roh!reply 23208/08/2012

The girlfriend was obviously murdered and the police department was paid one says a thing. That's life in America.

by Ruh roh!reply 23308/08/2012

Downloads of both Max's and Rebecca's medical reports

by Ruh roh!reply 23408/08/2012

All kinds of people are saying things, silly r233. However it's noteworthy that you fail to say anything about the child's death. You seem very biased.

by Ruh roh!reply 23508/08/2012


by Ruh roh!reply 23602/03/2013

Suddenly Rebecca's family shut up after Max's Mom strongly hinted that R might have been involved in Max's death.

And we haven't heard from them since.

by Ruh roh!reply 23702/03/2013


by Ruh roh!reply 23802/03/2013

I thought maybe it was the visiting sister of the girlfriend that might have accidentally done something that her older sister covered up.

What was up with the weird 'She saved him. Can you save her ?' message on the bedroom door where the girlfriend was hanging off the balcony railing ?

by Ruh roh!reply 23902/03/2013

Children often times die under the care of a boyfriend, and it is recommended to single mothers to never, ever, let a boyfriend watch your children. What we never hear about is about leaving your child with a girlfriend, as we assume that women in general are more maternal. But many women are not inclined to care about any children other than their own.

It looks like Rebecca neglected the child and he fell to his death. Tragic. And it looks as if the family exacted their revenge on her, which is creepy and demented. Why didn't they just pursue a criminal case against her? It shows you what these people are made of. They are rich scumbags, likely involved in organized crime. Isn't the father rich off of some diet drink scheme?

by Ruh roh!reply 24002/03/2013

The child's accident happened under her watch. That's a terrible thing, but it doesn't prove neglect. Accidents also happen to children under the watch of their natural parents.

It does look as if the child's family were so outraged that they arranged for Shacknai to be executed. They had the wealth to allow themselves to act as judge, jury, and executioner--and get away with it.

by Ruh roh!reply 24102/03/2013

"The world of heterosexual is a sick and boring life"!

by Ruh roh!reply 24202/03/2013

If it was an accident, r241 -- the kid went sailing over the balcony and landed on the floor below. If you follow the money, this kid from his previous marriage was the heir -- something her kid (if she had one with him at some point in the future) would not be.

by Ruh roh!reply 24302/03/2013

Well, if the story line is true, Max fell off of a second floor staircase while Rebecca was in the shower. That is neglect. You do not have a child running around loose like that, however, maybe because he was six years old she thought he would be less rambunctious.

Perhaps she told him to read or stay downstairs and he didn't obey. Six year old children can be expected to follow orders, but he may have been used to getting his way, being a child of rich parents.

I suspect this family is involved in organized crime and it was a professional hit.

by Ruh roh!reply 24402/03/2013

This is R241. Sorry, I typed "Shacknai" when I meant "Nalepa."

by Ruh roh!reply 24502/03/2013

Another case of a successful man who is smart in business but an idiot in his personal life.

He was thinking with his dick when he got involved with Rebecca. Was she supposed to be some kind of trophy wife? He's another white man who goes for Asian chicks, so there may be something wrong or weird with him to start with.

I'm not surprised that she was murdered while hog-tied--white men who like Asian women are into dominating and humiliating women. They (wrongly) view Asian women as passive Geisha girls and are then shocked at what they're really like.

Max, the little boy, was a real cutie and it's a terrible tragedy that he died.

by Ruh roh!reply 24602/03/2013

It is not so much that she was Asian, but that her background was rather sketchy.

Upthread, there are stories about the odd way she was able to enter and stay in the US

by Ruh roh!reply 24702/03/2013

Her backround was sketchy and dumbbell Shaknai picked HER, out of all the beautiful women who live in and around San Diego. Even I check out the women there, they are so unbelievably georgeous.

But alas, they are white and latino. He had to go for an Asian chick, probably to piss of his ex-wife. It was his way to let her know that he's now with a woman without cellulite and belly fat. He's an asshole, with no regard for his family.

And now his son is dead, and he will ALWAYS be under suspicion for murder.

by Ruh roh!reply 24802/03/2013

Is this guy Israeli?

by Ruh roh!reply 24902/03/2013

There are plenty of U.S. born Asian chicks to pick up here. IIRC, there was sketchiness about her background which included a shoplifting arrest and a marriage to a gay guy to obtain a green card/legal status. She was married to him for quite a while (story's probably upthread somewhere). That's how she was able to enter and exit the U.S. I

by Ruh roh!reply 25002/03/2013

If she did throw the kid over the balcony and kill him, why not just call the police?

by Ruh roh!reply 25102/04/2013

Where do people get the idea that the child's death had anything to do with a balcony? Jesus. Read.

by Ruh roh!reply 25202/04/2013

When r252 gets unhappy, his pee pee hurts and he gets cranky.

Cranky boys with aching pee pees rarely add much to discussions.

by Ruh roh!reply 25302/04/2013

Nor do people whose similes are limited to a small child's understanding of excretion, discomfort, and irritability, R253.

by Ruh roh!reply 25402/04/2013

R248/249, wtf is wrong with you? There's a lot of Asians living in San Diego. I see white/Asian couples all the time. It's like seeing gay couples. You act like dating an Asian is like dating a freak, you dumbass.

by Ruh roh!reply 25502/04/2013

He actually met her in Scottsdale where she worked for some medical company. But yes, there are many Asians in SD and it's not weird to see them with white guys/girls. I read somewhere (wish I knew where and could link) that the kid was "planking" (remember that?) on the stair ledge while she was supposed to be watching him and that's how he fell. I also read that the teen girl who was with her was her daughter and not her sister. Who knows?

by Ruh roh!reply 25602/04/2013

I do know that the her version, with the kid saying "Ocean" (the dog's name) as he fell doesn't make any sense because he supposedly was rendered speechless at once. It was a nice touch to try and blame the dog on her part.

by Ruh roh!reply 25702/04/2013

Max's mom will ger her revenge on these people, believe me. She will get her ex-husband for the poor judgement of having an uncaring flake watch his child, and she will get Rebecca's family back by exposing them as a criminal family.

This poor woman will do anything to get justice. I wouldn't be afraid of anyone either if my child was murdered.

by Ruh roh!reply 25802/04/2013

R255, it's not the Asian woman that are the freaks, it's the white men who date them.

Again, the way she was murdered is indicative of how white men view Asian women--as bound and gagged sexual objects.

I know Asian women who would never date white men because they know that these men have sexual kinks.

by Ruh roh!reply 25902/04/2013

[quote], and she will get Rebecca's family back by exposing them as a criminal family.

[quote]This poor woman will do anything to get justice.

These two statements are so odd read in succession. So who's the alleged criminal family here, Rebecca's or the Shacknais (the organized crime suppositions made above)?

by Ruh roh!reply 26002/04/2013

Obviously both family have criminal leanings. Birds of a feather.

by Ruh roh!reply 26102/04/2013

Please tell me how it's obvious. As in evidence.

by Ruh roh!reply 26202/04/2013

Funny how the results came out as positive for homicide on Dr. Phil but there's no follow-up and the family has been very quiet. Did they get paid off or threatened?

(btw, I'd never go on Dr. Phil. This is the shit Oprah left on her way out)

by Ruh roh!reply 26302/04/2013

Likely the family has been paid off. They are another immigrant family that worship money above everything else, like many Asian immigrants do.

Rebecca was a shoplifter and thought she snagged a rich white sucker. Gained a green card to obtain citizenship by commiting fraud.

Both parties involved are so unlikable.

It's no accident that these murders occurred in the Spreckles mansion, who was a sugar baron. Sugar was the catalyst for slavery in the Americas.

by Ruh roh!reply 26402/04/2013

I Googled Neil Nalepa, Rebecca's ex. His justice for Rebecca quest seemed to end abruptly.

[quote]Neil Nalepa 8:08 pm on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 Hey Sue, I have been meaning to write back, but things have been really busy. please contact me by going to, and leave a message on the contact us page. I hope to hear from you soon. thank you for reaching out.

The justiceforrebecca site has been taken down. The Justice for Rebecca Facebook hasn't had activity since April of '12

But there is a site dedicated to the case. I haven't had a chance to read much, but some folks think the JusticeforRebecca site was merely a money making scheme for her family.

by Ruh roh!reply 26502/04/2013

Rebecca was executed, plain and simple. The kid was planking, copying his older brother. He had teenage siblings who should have been watching him.

Seriously, when you were six could your stepmother not take a shower because she had to watch over you constantly? (especially with older siblings in the house).

This case stinks to high heaven. I can't wait to read a well researched book if anyone is brave enough to write it.

by Ruh roh!reply 26602/04/2013

Ann Rule wrote about it in November. It's a story in a compilation book but is supposed to be good. Ann thinks she was murdered too but not by Nina or Dina.

by Ruh roh!reply 26702/04/2013


by Ruh roh!reply 26802/20/2013

This is one of those cases that will never be solved because of corrupt police and DA's. They were paid off or are afraid of someone just like Ronnie Chasen's case.

by Ruh roh!reply 26902/20/2013

r269 But do you think that she had an involvement in the kid's death?

by Ruh roh!reply 27002/20/2013

Is it possible that Dorner had some info on the Ronnie Chasen case?

by Ruh roh!reply 27102/20/2013

Not sure about that R270. Even if she did why wouldn't someone have a police investigation instead of executing her like that?

Is Shacknai in the mob because John Gotti had the guy who accidentally killed his son executed too.

by Ruh roh!reply 27202/20/2013

R265 and R264, still with this?

by Ruh roh!reply 27302/23/2013

bump for justice

by Ruh roh!reply 27402/23/2013

It's like there was a standoff, and Zahau's family blinked first

by Ruh roh!reply 27502/24/2013
Need more help? Click Here.

Follow theDL catch up on what you missed

recent threads by topic delivered to your email

follow popular threads on twitter

follow us on facebook

Become a contributor - post when you want with no ads!