Shacknai Calls for New Look at Deaths

Asks for state to "evaluate" local authorities' conclusions about how girlfriend Zahau, 32, and son Max, 6, died in July; three search warrants also released.

Jonah Shacknai, the Arizona pharmaceuticals mogul who owns the Spreckels mansion, is calling for state Attorney General Kamala Harris to "evaluate" the conclusions drawn by local authorities in of his girlfriend and son.

The cases have spawned “unrelenting and often vicious speculation and innuendo,” he wrote in a Monday letter to Harris (see media box), leading him to seek another look, though he noted that he trusts the findings of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and Coronado police.

Harris' office confirmed receipt of the letter, but would offer no further comment Tuesday.

they had determined that Shacknai's girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, 32, committed suicide July 13 by tipping herself over a balcony at his oceanfront mansion. from injuries sustained in an accidental July 11 fall near stairs at the residence.

Tuesday brought a flurry of activity in the cases, which have drawn persistent national media attention.

The court released three search warrants (see media box) that authorities sought, and two more than a month later.

In the warrant issued July 13, detectives confiscated the rope, door, knives, paint and brushes that were cited in their detailed Sept. 2 news conference about the case. 

In addition, several electronic items, including two computers, two cell phones and several cameras, were taken from the Ocean Boulevard home, along with a black latex glove and paper towels and tissues with “red stains” and a clump of hair.

The other two warrants, each dated Aug. 24, were issued to AT&T and Verizon, seeking phone records for Shacknai and his ex-wife Dina, Max's mother, from 10 a.m. July 11 to noon July 13. 

Zahau was found nude and bound on the Spreckels property by Shacknai's brother, Adam, who told detectives he cut her down from a second-floor balcony.

There was rope on her neck, a shirt in her mouth, her feet were bound and her hands were secured behind her back. An odd message was also found painted on an interior door: “She saved him. Can he save her?” 

Detectives characterized the words as a last message from Zahau after she received a voice mail in which she was informed that Max was not expected to survive.

Her distress over the news, they said, led her to find rope, and meticulously cut and secure it around the footboard of a bed, before binding herself. She then made her way to the balcony and leaned over the railing to fall to her death.

The medical examiner said she died of asphyxia due to hanging. 

“Science is our best witness in this case,” Sheriff Bill Gore said when he took the unusual step of personally announcing the results of the probe. “Science is not biased, and it does not lie.”

Zahau's family has accused authorities of focusing on suicide early in the investigation and failing to look at other possibilities, despite their entreaties not to close the case. 

Her autopsy also revealed cuts and bruises to her face that detectives did not bring up in the initial discussions of their findings. Zahau's loved ones are willing to have her body exhumed to have experts examine her for new evidence. 

One of her sisters, Snowem Horwath, said Tuesday that Shacknai did not inform the family of his request to the attorney general. She said it's not enough.

“We are not asking for a review of this case,” Horwath said. “We are asking for this case to be reopened.” The family is gathering signatures for a petition they plan to submit to Harris.

The family's attorney, Anne Bremner, has appeared on national talk shows, including Dr. Drew Pinsky's and Nancy Grace's, calling for reopening the investigation.

Initially, Shacknai responded to Bremner through his attorneys, if she didn't stop making what the the lawyers described as “false and irresponsible statements.”

Monday's letter, in which Shacknai, not his attorneys, appealed to Harris, had a different tone. He noted the “horrible events of this summer” at his home and that “Rebecca's family and others continue to have questions.” 

A state review of the case, he wrote, would bring “some clarity, dignity, and ultimately, closure to the devastating deaths of my youngest son, Max Shacknai, and my girlfriend and companion of two years, Rebecca Zahau.”

He added that he “was and continue(s) to be persuaded” by a “sound, scientific … thorough and competent investigation.” Skepticism about the findings, he wrote, has “tormented” his surviving children, other family members and his ex-wife's family. 

If a new “assessment serves to validate the Sept. 2 findings, then hopefully this matter can be resolved finally,” he wrote.

Gore said in a statement (see media box), that he “strongly” believes ”a thorough and professional investigation was conducted” in cooperation with Coronado police and the Medical Examiner's Office.

But he added that the department “understands and supports Mr. Shacknai's request” and will cooperate with Harris' office if she decides to review the case.

The Sheriff's Department has maintained a Web page dedicated to the case since mid-August. Media materials released Sept. 2 are posted there, along with Shacknai's response to them, and his letter to Harris' office. 

joe2 September 22, 2011 at 02:30 PM
THANK YOU Jennifer Vigil for yet another excellent article and keeping this story alive (and for the lovely photo of Rebecca Zahau to keep us focused on what the heck we're doing here). WE HAVE MOVED TO: http://coronado.patch.com/articles/zahaus-family-seeks-new-inquiry-from-state#comments
Grace September 22, 2011 at 02:48 PM
SDSO, Never released Rebecca's phone records....Channel 8 news got them and made them public. SDSO did not, I am sure they weren't to happy with Channel 8.
Ann September 22, 2011 at 03:53 PM
nobody's pointing a gun to your head and forcing you to read!
Ann September 22, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Great comment Karlie; really does sound like W is reading the comments morning to night....
cheryl kaizuka September 22, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Hello, I feel like a peeper, I am not! I have been watching this thread, WS, Hinky Meter and Rador-online for many weeks and find this all very amazing. Please remember when doing calculations as to the balcony death that Rebecca had a prominent limp, this indeed adds to the pile and we must remember this factoid(per Valhall) factoid!
cheryl kaizuka September 22, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Trolls, in general leave us all on the defensive. I do believe that this is done in a manner to sway us from our natural beliefs. GOOOD LUCK!
Ann September 23, 2011 at 05:20 AM
I couldn't have said it better; I fear there'll be no justice for Rebecca. Evidence are all there; what is there to investigate further? Gore is a liar, and a lousy one too.
Ann September 23, 2011 at 05:26 AM
Yeah we LOVE Robert, we HATE W !!! Didn't take you long to realize that, did you?
Ann September 23, 2011 at 05:29 AM
Were you like Gore, bribed by JS? So how much were u paid?
S September 23, 2011 at 07:29 AM
All such excellent points. Thank you, RM.
cheryl kaizuka September 23, 2011 at 08:32 PM
Hello all of you regulars, Roger, Robert, Sharon, Kate and the rest. Please help me out with the Justice for Rebecca website (I was able to leave a message, but how do I donate some fund s( as little as thay may be) to this cause? Can anyone help me with this? Thanks, Cheryl
cheryl kaizuka September 23, 2011 at 09:59 PM
I have a mobile phone and do not use a paswd. I live alone and my dog can not use my phone,LOL. I am not so sure everyone in the world uses a pswd to access VM. It would be very easy for anyone to listen to and delete msg's sent and or recieved. Voice mail as well as other telecomunication devises, are not perfect (nothing is!) as far as anyone being aware what happens when $$ comes into play in a death investigation, please remember the Murder of the Polo player who was involved with Claudette Longette(spell) Andy Willimas Ex-wife. She was given a few days in jail and a $2500,00 fine. Yes money talks and Bullshit walks!
cheryl kaizuka September 23, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Dave, Do we know on which leg Reecca had the limp? This is crucial in the balcony investigation?
cheryl kaizuka September 23, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Neal, had come into some hard times, may of us have been there. He is not a crimminal in any sence of the word, Oweing back rent can happen to any one, I repeat anyone. We would all like to believe a hit on anyones criminal report for backgrowned, rent means this individual is a criminal ( not the case) and as times continue to get tighter we can all be there with the loss of a job, family terminal illness and /or un-favorable lawsuits from landlords or bill collectors. This certainly does not make one a criminal. How many individuals in this United States of America are way in over their heads financially? He was the one who came to the table to be there for the Zahaus in their time of need. Sounds like a comnpasionate human being trying to do the right thing, even thought he was not the husband of record at this time. Ask Mr. Mary Zahau,(officer L.) who he really was?
theinshwe37 September 27, 2011 at 02:54 PM
Incredible 10,005 posts on Zahau general discussion forum! http://websleuths.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=456
Sick Itten October 06, 2011 at 02:48 AM
Don't forget the Websleuths argument made by CDS22 which logically depicts the truer scenario re: Max's violent whiplash that left him decorticate
Hana M November 29, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Hi there dear "Rob Mack".....Mr. shacknaii is saying that He wasnts a "review" ...of the Initiall findings"......which means...that all He wants Is a 2nd rownd ( of the same thing...).. I think He wishes to be "Left alone"....I / we don't think..that they thought...this situation would take "such wings"......But.. my question to mr. Jonah....Is -----Where were You When it happened"...?? as far as we Understand ....after receiving the Texed message from Your brother...You didn't "fly" Home...the way You did when Dear Max was Injured........so when Dear Rebecca...was......when You were informed of what Happened....How come You didn't question things Then??.......as far as we know----You didn't even call Back..or call Rebecca's cell ...( sorry..But a grieving Person ...would tend to do this Out of disbelief...)...So....not going home Even ??......and we know...that She Layd there....Naked ???? Mr. shacknaii......Please show Us some Integrity...........I happened to be from Israel..so we may have some similar backgrwond..... I think I may Understand matters......We are Looking at the beginning....when emotions were at work..@ "sitting in the "driver seat"......Please ..Why was she Left Even after the Horrifying sceen..@ where were thou..????
Hana M November 29, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Yes.....It should have Been Jonha...to dome on the sceen......If He cares about Her....But...right away having sent the a Frienf "In high place"..Paul Pfigst...shows clearly ...that Mr. snacknaii...was Looking to Protect" Himself !...She...the Victim who Needed Protection ------was Not Protected that fatal night....where was Mr. shacknaii then...to Protect Her....what kind of a "compannion Is He...( excuse me...).....and where was the Protection She needed after the Horror"........when Left alone...naked...to Lay there...for hours without Protection..............S...while mr. shacknaii wants People to "Leave Him alone"...........there's One problem..........A Nude Girl..Bound @ gagged...was found at His House.......A sceen that speaks for Itself.......If there was no break In to the House -----then it "must have come" from there.............
Hana M November 29, 2011 at 02:02 AM
'Roger"....Right On.....excellent Post......Thank You.....Yea....Let see Reenactment of this -----carefull".......someone may really hurt themselves.....as some have tried ---@ eported...that It's Physically Impossible....@ It's very Hurting...............
Hana M November 29, 2011 at 02:14 AM
dear Rob Mack"..... Thank You....( will copy the e maill)....Yes...Mr. shacknaii...wasts this to "go away"......Understandible ---But not nder all these sircumstances..............Not,....when You" are In the center..@ Owner of the House ---where a Girl ( more so..Girlfrieng..) was fownd......In a very Humiliating ...........'Taken".........A;....It's an Impossible act to do ..By oneself.....B She wouldn't have done It......If,....at all.......it crossed Her ( gentle ) mind....She would have consulted with Her sister.....But we know It didn't cros Her mind...@ She was going to deall with this new ( @ not easy) situation......The day...Mr. shacknaii...will be willing to "Face the situation squerly"........Like a Man.....that day will be a good day ......@ Hell be able to start Breathing easily...........Please Mr. shacknaii----concider "Facing the situation squarely".....Becouse It'll speed things Up..@ Help a Lot..to You too......
Hana M November 29, 2011 at 02:37 AM
Yes dear "Roger"....Mr. Lucas...also didn't have explenattions...to some very disturbing findings......like the cloth In Rebecca's mouth..( what does a teashirt doing in Her Mouth...??)...And the 4 seperate Hemorhagings to Her Head.......He had No explenation....to "what a cloth would be doing in Her Mouth....said...that somethings are unexplained....(something like that )....And fownd some sttory to tell abot the Deep wounds to the scalp...said it occoured when falling.......But..No!.......even the Pathologist..Dr. Wtcht....said No.....from faling....the light woulds would be intirely differant.......( my words).....He Implied... that She was Hit hard on the Head By someone...to render Her Unconscious...then...thet person would be able to do the Humiliating bindings...................
Hana M November 29, 2011 at 02:48 AM
'Roger"....wawoo.....Pretty good...aaaaa.....have You taken a loook at an article ( at forbes)...By a woman who "Investigated" stuff 1st hand"? Apparrently..."woman's clothings were found " In the Gust House"......She had a habbit..of making It her last stop...Usking if the guest needed anything.......It's speculated by some ----that She never made It Out of that place......( alive)........Also..that night..a Loud music was Heard by neighbours........I think...so that Her calling for Help....would not be heard....also...(You forgot) at arownd 11..that night...2 sperate screams for Help were Heard..........
Hana M November 29, 2011 at 02:52 AM
No neeed to Let "W" confuse anyone.....He's one of the shacknaiis ...or the Pr........"go get a life"............
Hana M November 29, 2011 at 03:00 AM
"W"..........dear People Here -----do not listen to this guy (w).........He's either on of the family ( sh)...or the Pr... In any case ---. ...don't "stoop low"..........'let it go"................Peace on earth"......
Hana M November 29, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Gosh".......just to name oneself "sick kiten"....Is sick ----Excuse me......I love animals....@ Happy when they are...........Peace on earth."....amen.......
Hana M November 29, 2011 at 03:29 AM
The Message...was Much taller then Rebecca....@ was not fromm her.....It's not anything she would have written..........
Hana M November 29, 2011 at 03:30 AM
dear Rob M....( as have been suggested..) No need to pay attention to 'w".....He is Not interested in the truth.......(so why bother....).....<3
Will Shoplift For Eye Shadow August 03, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Please, blow open wide both cases. Let the world see what happened to Max Shacknai that day, and ALL the details of Rebecca Nalepa's suicide.
Robert Mack August 04, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Jitsu - You are so full of crap, my guess is the adult is a member of the shacknai tea party? What did the adult weigh that she was held down in said "choke hold"? Where did she learn such a move? Was Jonah trained in the same manner because that would explain alot of things. And withholding snacks and treats is not abuse get a clue sicko. But please make sure the authorities get all of this information under oath. The suicide supporters continue to make a case for murder everday. Real answers to real and honest questions and justice for Rebecca Zahau and Max.
Truth August 07, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Rebecca had jiu jitsu training. I'm surprised you didn't know about that Robert, considering you supposedly know everything about her. The information is in Phoenix Magazine. The authorities have the full report, all 13 pages of it. Max's case WILL be reopened. RIP Max.


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