Mary Zahau-Loehner, the sister of Rebecca Zahau, the 32-year-old mistress of 54-year-old pharma CEO, Jonah Shacknai, whose naked body was found bound and hanging from an inside balcony of the Spreckels Mansion at 1043 Ocean Boulevard in Coronado, CA on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 6:30 a.m. PDT is outraged by the findings of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, which has ruled the woman’s death a suicide, according to reports by KNSD-TV, the Huffington Post, Fox News, KGTV, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Arizona Daily Star, and multiple other sources published on Thursday, September 1, 2011.
Speaking from her home near Saint Joseph, Missouri, Ms. Zahau’s sister flatly rejected those findings, which will be officially released by Sheriff Bill Gore at a media conference on Friday, September 2, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. PDT, saying “My sister did not commit suicide. She was murdered. She would not have exposed herself, knowing that everybody would see her that way.”
While authorities have not officially made a statement about their determination, news of their decision has apparently been leaked to the press, causing an uproar of outrage and negative public reaction.
The Sheriff’s Department media release of September 1, 2011 only states that “Sheriff Bill Gore will lead a panel of experts from the Sheriff’s Homicide Detail, Sheriff’s Crime Lab, County Medical Examiner’s Office, and Coronado Police Department to discuss the findings on the deaths of Rebecca Zahau and Max Shacknai. There will be a Q and A portion after the media briefing.”
Some are already referring to the suicide findings as a cover up, saying that authorities were intimidated by the wealth and influence of Shacknai, who heads Medicis Pharmaceuticals (MRX), a corporation that has a book value of $902,330,000, just under one billion dollars, according to Y Charts.
Shacknai himself, who had been twice married and divorced, has been described as a brilliant scientist, promoter, and a leader in the $6 billion-dollar-a-year cosmetic drug industry.
According to Gary Nachman, a Wall Street analyst with the Susquehanna International Group (SIG), “Jonah is very much the blood that runs through Medicis. They are a very meaningful player in the dermatology market.”
Another person who knows of his corporate talents, Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona BioIndustry Association, in speaking to a reporter from the San Diego Union-Tribune, said “He’s very active and very engaged. He’s considered one of the community’s leaders.”
Dr. Shacknai is also known for his charity projects, including his work with a ranch that helps children with special needs. He has two teenage children, in addition to his late son Max, and lives most of the year in the affluent Arizona community of Paradise Valley, spending only the summer months in Coronado.
An attorney for the Zahau family, Anne Bremner of Seattle, WA, characterized the police findings as “ridiculous”, adding that it “doesn’t pass the smell test.”
The family of Ms. Zahau contend that she was murdered in retaliation for the accidental fall of 6-year-old Max Shacknai down a flight of stairs at the 12,751-square-foot beachfront mansion, two days before Rebecca was discovered dead, or that her death resulted from other motives of rage or jealousy. The the 27 room house was originally built in 1908 by John Dietrich Spreckels, and is currently valued at $16.9 million dollar,
That accident, at a time when the child was being cared for by Rebecca Zahau, eventually led to the boy’s own death at Rady Children’s Hospital in La Jolla, CA just days later on Saturday, July 16.
Images of the Spreckels Mansion and those who lived there are seen in the attached slide show and video clip which accompany this report.
The findings of suicide would have to conclude that an otherwise vital and vibrant woman had been plunged into the depths of a depression from feelings of guilt and inadequacy, holding herself responsible for the boy’s death, and deciding to end her life, as an act of remorse, shame, or atonement.
At Friday’s press briefing, the Sheriff will no doubt be asked how a woman would be able to commit suicide by hanging herself, after first binding her feet and her own wrists behind her back, especially after that same law enforcement agency had earlier characterized the Ms. Zahau’s death as “bizarre”.
We will update this dispatch with information later disclosed at the San Diego County Sheriff’s news conference.
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