Zahau's Sister Says Family Will Continue to Press for New Probe

Younger sister Snowem Horwath, of Germany, said even “if it takes many years” she will continue to challenge finding that Rebecca Zahau killed herself.

Editor's note: One year ago . Public fascination continued for weeks afterward, peaking in September , not crimes. This week, Patch revisits the deaths of Rebecca Zahau and Max Shacknai in pieces about , and of the tragedies.  


The pain is still there and the grim determination hasn't waned, but for one of Rebecca Zahau's sisters, smiles are possible too.

Snowem Horwath can hear her big sister gently teasing her about her taste in clothing – Zahau didn't always approve – or about the items Horwath chose to feature in her new business, a boutique. 

“‘You know what Snow,’” Horwath recalls Zahau saying as she viewed the stock during a Skype conversation, “‘I would even buy that.’”

Zahau's voice was silenced one year ago Friday; after nearly seven weeks of investigation, detectives determined that she died by her own hand, on the grounds of the Spreckels mansion. The brother of her boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai, said he found her hanging from a balcony over the home's courtyard.

“Just the fact of knowing that it's the first anniversary now, of losing someone so special, it's just indescribable,” Horwath said, in a phone interview from her home in Hamburg, Germany.

The probe's conclusion angered Horwath, her sister Mary Zahau-Loehner and the rest of their family, which has been . They publicly criticized the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, which oversaw the case, and , along with their attorney, Anne Bremner.

The Sheriffs department denied their call to re-open the case, as did District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. continues to review the family's request, according to Bremner.

“I cannot believe her or her department would let it pass and not do anything,” Horwath said. “I cannot imagine that.”

The Coronado police investigated another incident at the mansion, two days before Zahau's demise, that led to the death of Shacknai's son, Max, 6. Chief Louis Scanlon disagrees with the Zahau family's criticism, but he says he sympathizes with their position.

“It was a terrible tragedy, particularly for the families involved, but it was determined not to be criminal in its nature,” he said. “To date, we have no evidence to indicate it's anything other than a tragedy, but I think that it's understandable there are people who can't accept that.”

Neither Horwath nor Zahau-Loehner has pointed fingers at the two people known to have been at the mansion July 13, 2011, but they have not wavered in their contention that their sister was killed.

Horwath said she is prepared to keep up the fight for a new investigation for several years, even a decade.

“It doesn't matter how long it takes, as long as the truth is revealed, as long as justice is served,” she said. “It doesn't matter if it takes many years, our fight for justice will still be the same. Of course, as sisters, we pray it doesn't take that long, but if it takes that long, it has to.”

She must do this for Rebecca, Horwath said, because “only then will I think, OK, I have done everything for you, then I won't be too sad anymore.”


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Twinkie July 21, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Or maybe, like in the Casey Anthony trial, we'll hear more of the lies a woman used to cover up the death of a small child. Justice is coming, Max.
Twinkie July 22, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Once again, you are showing yourself to be a big, fat, liar. The donation address for Maxie's House is 8390 E. Via de Ventura F-110 #216 Scottsdale, AZ 85258. The Medicis address is 7720 North Dobson Road Scottsdale, AZ 85256. Dina looks beautiful. But I guess those that are ugly on the inside, can't see real beauty, can they?
Elvira's House July 23, 2012 at 06:37 AM
So what's that building with Medicis on the front at 8435 E Vía de Ventura Scottsdale, AZ 85258? Well aware of Dobson. Rebecca was beautiful until someone murdered her. Elvira is here: http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=v1X&sa=N&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgVuLUz9U3SCoyKMwDAEFBpLENAAAA&biw=1003&bih=593&tbm=isch&tbnid=gsMBRdsHVDMNsM:&imgrefurl=http://celebrityphotos.sheknows.com/actresses/celebrities-in-costume-elvira-mistress-of-the-dark/&docid=WUhL7gRYFEUDuM&imgurl=http://celebrityphotos.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/elvira-halloween-costume-celebs-in-costume.jpg&w=500&h=839&ei=L-8MUPynK6Oy2wXJ4ZHzDw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=423&vpy=189&dur=4336&hovh=291&hovw=173&tx=98&ty=146&sig=116074774659518849272&page=2&tbnh=127&tbnw=77&start=18&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:18,i:141
P. Sagan July 24, 2012 at 12:01 AM
You know you are a liar. And a pretty horrible person too.
uh-huh July 24, 2012 at 07:24 AM
We know you are a liar. Everything after Rebecca's death was guilty and suspicious. Not a single thing was honest and forthcoming. Any chance to gain credibility was blown by OJ-like behavior. Flee and hide, and they are still doing it. Blaming the innocent victim is textbook psychopathic revenge behavior.
Sanguine lips July 24, 2012 at 05:49 PM
You can tell plenty by these images. Who wears blood-red lipstick? You know. Eerie and scary. https://www.google.com/search?q=Dina+Shacknai&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=CeP&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvnsuo&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=8d0OUL2EE6HtiwLd24G4Bw&ved=0CFcQsAQ&biw=1003&bih=593
C. Bressette July 24, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I thought they banned you and all your IP addresses, sickitten. Time to take your meds again.
C. Bressette July 24, 2012 at 06:23 PM
The only one that fits your "flee and hide" is XENA. She knows Rebecca killed herself and she knows WHY.
LOL July 24, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Sucks you got your gravatar profile deleted, doesn't it, troll?
gamer July 24, 2012 at 08:59 PM
That was ludwig who lost his NIC and his cool. Sickitten was thought to be some "Mel" person. Patch post is just a game. Thanks for playing.
Grave-a-tar July 24, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Why not just ask Jennifer? You're on good terms, right? Trolling and stalking is your game. Poor Robert Mack, just looking for a little honesty. How's his gravatar profile doing?
Tacky Blue Eye Shadow July 25, 2012 at 06:28 PM
@ gamer - sickitten has multiple identities, and they're getting bumped off one by one. Watch for it.
Rollo the Rich Kid July 26, 2012 at 06:35 AM
They're just words, not ego like the late, "great" ludwig. Words and identities are disposable. Rebecca's eye shadow was blue when Jonah met her, so his taste must run to the tacky, jewelry too.
Salem July 26, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Justice will prevail. RIP Rebecca.
method July 30, 2012 at 03:47 PM
This is how Rebecca was murdered. The hanging was after the fact. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrote
Sweet Pea July 30, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Bad fiction, method, not to mention illogical and unscientific. The clues over what she did to Max that she couldn't live with are in the suicide room - only hers and Max's fingerprints, Dr. Pepper, one red cup, a turned over chair. No wonder she decided to kill herself. RIP Max. Justice is coming.
Juni Bressette August 01, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Ugly Mary Zahau is just out for money and her husband is a crooked cop there in Missouri. They know what XENA did.
Tim Canerday August 02, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Rebecca Zahau did not commit suicide she was murdered by someone that blamed her for Maxie's death. Identify who is on here blaming her for hurting Maxie and you might just identify her killer.
rwright August 02, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Her family deserve justice and her killer doesn't deserve the right to live after he took her life. Everyone I know can honestly say they know who is guilty of her death but money has bought them a little free time. The truth will set some free, but first it will piss many of the Shacknai family off.
The Truth Hurts August 02, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Rebecca killed herself because of what she did to Max. Dina's team knows what happened. When the truth comes out, the murder posse will be left with child abusing egg on its collective face. RIP Max. Justice IS coming.
The Truth Hurts August 02, 2012 at 11:37 PM
You bet justice will prevail, Salem. Justice for Max. Dina's team knows what happened to her little boy, and it cries out for justice.
Odom August 03, 2012 at 04:55 AM
If you know anything about this case at all you know her death does not add up as a suicide. There are far too many unanswered questions to close her case. The manner-of-death classification should be changed from "suicide" to "homicide" or at the very least "inconclusive" until many of the unanswered questions can be answered.
Tin Cup August 03, 2012 at 12:22 PM
All the information hasn't been released to the public, so how would you know if it adds up? Even hired gun Cyril Wecht wasn't able to conclusively say "murder" (although he falsely claimed Whitney Houston was murdered). I say let ALL the evidence of Rebecca Nalepa's suicide be released. ALL of it, even what the Zahau family doesn't want you to see.
Tin Cup August 03, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Rebecca Nalepa blamed Rebecca Nalepa for Max's death. That's why she killed herself. That's still not going to wipe out what she did to Max. Let the details of what she did to a kindergarten aged child become public knowledge. RIP Max.
who was where August 03, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Sure, and release the verified location of Jonah, Dina, Nina and Adam during the murder hours. No cellphone pings, only sworn witnesses.
news to come August 06, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Expect a "blended" family meltdown. This will conclude in a final confrontation between Dina and Jonah. The news will be wild.
nicekitty! August 07, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Dina neglected to mention she also took a pic of sweet Maxie as he was dying in the ICU so she may release it to the press sometime down the road O_ o
Tija August 10, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Rebecca, we know what you did last summer.
Shame August 11, 2012 at 07:50 AM
Mary, what do YOU know about what Rebecca did to Max?
Salem November 19, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Thank you Zahaus for pursuing justice on behalf of Rebecca and refiling the wrongful death suit on 11/13/2013 against Dina Shacknai, Nina Romano, etc. Please continue in your quest. The road may be long, but JUSTICE & the TRUTH must prevail. The coldblooded, heartless murderers must be held accountable for their nefarious, vile, humiliating torture and heinous murder of Rebecca. RIP Rebecca. Justice is coming.


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