Coronado Mansion Death Ruled a Suicide: Sister

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Investigators have ruled that the woman who was found hanging naked from a second-floor balcony at an historic mansion committed suicide, the victim's sister told NBCSanDiego on Thursday.

    Rebecca Zahau's sister, Mary Zahau-Loehner, says she doesn't agree with the findings. "My sister did not commit suicide," she said.  "She was murdered."

    Zahau's Sister: Investigators Got It Wrong

    [DGO] Zahau's Sister: Investigators Got It Wrong
    Mary Zahau-Loehner waited seven weeks to find out what happened to her 32 year old sister Rebecca. When homicide detectives told her they are going to rule the death a suicide, Zahau-Loehner said no, they've got it all wrong. Tony Shin reports. (Published Friday, Sep 2, 2011)

    The San Diego County Sheriff's Department will make the official announcement of their findings in the deaths of Rebecca Zahau and Max Shacknai on Friday.

    Zahau was found naked, hanging by her neck from a balcony at the historic Spreckels Mansion on Coronado.

    "She would not have exposed herself, knowing that everybody would see her that way," Zahau-Loehner said.

    Rebecca Zahau's legs and wrists were bound and a source close to the investigation told NBC 7 San Diego a week and a half ago that detectives are reasonably confident her death was a suicide.

    Coronado Mansion Death a Suicide: Source

    [DGO] Coronado Mansion Death a Suicide: Source
    According to sources, investigators don't have any solid evidence that someone killed Rebecca Zahau, 32, inside a Coronado Mansion in July. (Published Saturday, Aug 20, 2011)

    Zahau's sister also said investigators told her that there isn't any evidence leading to any suspects.  "They explained by saying that there were no signs of struggle or foul play."

    Sources told NBC 7 San Diego Zahau felt tremendous guilt over the death of 6-year-old Max Shacknai because his fatal injuries happened while she was watching the boy.

    However, Zahau's friends and family have said that they don't believe the 32-year-old would commit suicide.

    Sheriff Bill Gore is expected to lead a panel of experts from homicide investigators to the coroner to discuss the results of the investigation beginning at 11 a.m. Friday. 

    NBCSanDiego is planning on providing a live stream of the event. 

    Timeline of events

    Initially, investigators described Zahau's death as "violent" and "suspicious in nature."

    The property's owner is Jonah Shacknai, 54, founder and CEO of Medicis, a pharmaceutical company based in Scottsdale, Ariz. and Zahau's boyfriend.

    Zahau and Adam Shacknai, Jonah's brother, were the only two people staying at the home the night of July 12.

    Zahau was staying in the main house. Adam Shacknai was staying in the guesthouse.

    Jonah Shacknai was not at the residence the evening prior to the discovery of the body nor at the time she was discovered, officials said.