Jonah and Dina Shacknai filed separate police reports during their marriage. No charges were filed. Their 6-year-old son, Max Shacknai, died from a fall in his father's Coronado mansion. Two days later, Rebecca Zahau, Jonah Schacknai's girlfriend, was found dead in a suspcious, violent manner, police said.
Police reports detailing a bitter end to Jonah Shacknai and his second wife’s marriage were released late Monday, one day after their 6-year-old son died in a San Diego hospital while the recent death of Shacknai’s girlfriend remains under investigation.
The documents, which catalog two incidents, include 16 photographs of mainly scratches and bruises submitted by Dina Shacknai, allegedly purported by their dog, according to a Paradise Valley Police Department report.
On Sunday, Max Shacknai passed away from injuries sustained July 11 when he fell down stairs at his father’s Coronado mansion. Max was an organ donor, and his organs went to three different recipients, a source close to the family told NBCSanDiego Tuesday.
Last Wednesday, two days after the boy’s fall, Jonah Shacknai’s girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, 32, was found dead, hanging from a second-story balcony at the same Spreckels Mansion in Coronado.
Investigators initially described the death as “violent” and “bizarre,” and forensics evidence is being processed before determining whether the death was criminal or a suicide.
On Sept. 13, 2008, Jonah Shacknai reported to police that Dina attempted to choke him and that his attack-trained female German Shepherd became excited and came between the two. He blamed his wife’s behavior on prescription medications and alcohol, according to a supplemental report.
Dina called the same night, reporting a dog attack. On the following day, she told police the dog had injured her before while Jonah “makes little to no effort to stop the dog,” according to a report.
Dina also submitted a two-page letter, describing Jonah as temperamental. She said the incident began over a disagreement with their child’s soiled bedding and that Jonah cursed at her in front of their child.
He “physically intimidated” her, she wrote, by “coming very close to (her), ‘nose to nose,’” and continuing to insult and threaten" her with name-calling in a “menacing tone.” She added that her attempts to keep an arm’s distance from Jonah during the incident resulted in her hand moving from his chest to his throat.
“Although Jonah feels entitled to name call, push etc, when I attempt to set boundaries via my personal space, he then assumes the role of victim,” Dina wrote.
The married couple was estranged by Jan. 4, 2009, when a second incident was reported to police. Dina alleged Jonah elbowed her in the right breast area.
Weeks later, in a formal letter to Chief John Bennett of the Paradise Valley Police Department dated Jan. 26, Jonah wrote Dina previously filed “false and misleading reports” about bruises on her body stemming from contact with their dog.
“Importantly,” Shacknai wrote, "Dina has been treated medically for years for a bruising disorder, whereby the slightest contact with an object or other material causes bruises. This information can certainly be verified medically.”
Shacknai, the prominent founder and CEO of Medicis, a pharmaceutical company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., wrote that although never feeling physically endangered, Dina physically assaulted him several times, once causing him a broken finger.
He wrote that Dina threw herself at his car on Jan. 4 while he was attempting to drive away from the home. She screamed that he had no right to leave her or the house, Jonah wrote.
“At this point, Dina also began attempting to slap me, again screaming, “You cannot leave me!” Jonah wrote. “I was able to gently nudge her from the car and withdraw from the premises without further incident.”
No charges were filed in either incidents.
On Monday, shortly before 9:30 p.m., Dina and Jonah Shacknai released a joint statement:
While our marriage did not work out as either of us had hoped, it did produce a wonderful son, Max, whom both of us loved very much. His loss is unimaginable. These police reports are not reflective of the totality or the precise details of the events during a difficult time in our marriage that we worked through together. The release of the records as we grieve Max’s recent loss pains us greatly, and we request that the privacy of our family be respected. The unfortunate attention to these records is a distraction from the most important concern of honoring our beautiful son, who lives on in both of our hearts.