Rebecca Zahau Death Ruled a Suicide

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With the conclusion that Rebecca Zahau died in a suicide, police say the mystery of two deaths tied to millionaire Jonah Shacknai's mansion has been solved.

A San Diego woman, Zahau, was found hanged at the mansion of Shacknai, her boyfriend. His son, Max, died from injuries suffered from an accidental fall.

"These deaths were not the result of any criminal acts," San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said at a press conference, as reported today by People.


The police findings effectively close the investigation into the unusual, very highly publicized deaths of pharmaceutical CEO Shacknai's girlfriend and son.

The family of Zahau (a.k.a. Rebecca Nalepa) is not satisfied, however.

"We her family and friends do not believe it's a suicide. There are still unanswered questions," says Mary Zahau-Loehner. "It is very suspicious."

"We would like the police to look further into her case, to do whatever it takes. We want justice and are here to represent our sister and daughter."

Zahau was found naked, hanging by a makeshift noose outside Jonah Shacknai's mansion in Coronado, Calif., on July 13, her hands and feet bound.

Her body was found just hours after she accessed her voice mail, on which was a message about Shacknai's 6-year-old son, who was in the hospital.

She also painted a message in black shortly before she died. The paint was still found on her hands. Authorities refused to reveal what was written.

"She made the decision to take her own life," said San Diego County Sgt. Dave Nemeth, adding that she bound and hanged herself unassisted.

This was supported, he said, by DNA evidence on the rope as well as an experiment in which officials found it was possible for a person to do this.

As for the boy, the investigation concluded that Max had tripped and tumbled over a balcony and grabbed a chandelier as he fell, authorities said.

Shacknai, CEO of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., was never a suspect and called the deaths "tragedies … that one couldn't imagine experiencing."

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