Rebecca Zahau Hanging a 'Murder,' Claims Family Lawsuit

Image: Rebecca Zahau Hanging a 'Murder,' Claims Family Lawsuit

Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 09:14 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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A $10 million wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in federal court by the family of Rebecca Zahau, whose hanging body was found two years ago at her boyfriend's Coronado mansion, near San Diego. It calls her death a "murder."

The San Diego County medical examiner ruled that Zahau killed herself on July 13, 2011, but that determination was never accepted by the family, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Union-Tribune reported Friday that the lawsuit named Adam Shacknai and Dina Shacknai, brother and ex-wife of Zahau’s Arizona millionaire boyfriend Jonah Shacknai, as well as Dina Shacknai’s twin sister, Nina Romano, as defendants. Jonah Shacknai is not named in the suit.

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Zahau’s mother, Pari Zahau, and sister, Mary Zahau-Loehner, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Diego a day before the two-year anniversary of Zahau’s death.

According to the newspaper, the lawsuit claims that Adam Shacknai, Dina Shacknai and Nina Romano "participated in some manner in the planning, implementation, execution and subsequent concealment of the scheme to murder" Zahau.

Adam Shacknai, of Tennessee, was staying in a guesthouse at his brother’s Spreckels mansion at when Zahau died. Dina Shacknai, of Arizona, was in a nearby vacation home while Nina Romano had flown in from Sacramento to be with her sister, reported the Union-Tribune.

The lawsuit said the family represents the Zahau estate and that her father, Robert Zahau, passed away last week.

In response to the lawsuit, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Caldwell emailed a statement that the medical examiner’s office ruled the death a suicide "after an exhaustive and thorough investigation was conducted by the Sheriff’s Department and Coronado Police Department."

KFMB-TV reported in May that the Zahau family filed a lawsuit against San Diego County for records and evidence they believe would prove Zahau's death was a homicide.

An attorney for the Zahau family, Marty Rudoy, told KFMB-TV that Sheriff Bill Gore and Medical Examiner Dr. Glenn Wagner were named in the lawsuit "to get further information regarding the death of Rebecca Zahau, so that we can bring closure and peace to the Zahau family."

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The television station reported the suit also sought information related to the accidental death of the 6-year-old Max Shacknai, the son of Zahau's boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai.

"We think the two deaths are intrinsically related, in that, if nothing happened to Max, then nobody would have done anything to Rebecca," Rudoy told KFMB.

Related stories:

Official Won't Review Finding in Mansion Death

Two Mysterious Deaths at CEO's Mansions


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