She Was Compassionate and Generous: Zahau Family

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Zahau Family
    Her family said she was compassionate and generous.

    There is no way to describe Rebecca's compassion or generosity, Rebecca's Zahau's family said in a statement to the media. They said she often thought of her family and friends before thinking of herself.

    The Zahau family released the statement on Sunday saying they want "the world to know who Becky is."

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    The Sheriff's Department has 15 detectives working the case and the scene was described by police as "violent" and "suspicious" but they still don't know if it was a homicide or suicide. (Published Saturday, Jul 23, 2011)

    Rebecca Zahau, also known as Rebecca Nalepa, was found dead July 13 outside the Coronado mansion of her boyfriend Jonah Shacknai. Mystery surrounds her death after Zahau was found with her hands and feet bound, hanging from a second-story balcony.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, this isn't the first time there has been trouble at a Shacknai home. However, police are reluctant to call Zahau's death a suicide or a homicide.

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    Rebecca Zahau, girlfriend of Jonah Shacknai, was found dead on July 13, two days after Jonah's 6-year-old son, Max Shacknai, sustained what would ultimately be fatal injuries when he fell down stairs inside the historic Spreckels Mansion in Coronado. (Published Thursday, Jul 21, 2011)

    July 24th, 2011

    Statement from the Family of Rebecca Zahau

    Rebecca Zahau, our granddaughter, daughter, sister, aunt, and cousin, was laid to rest July 23rd 2011.

    People including media want to know who Rebecca Zahau was. This has been difficult to answer within the immediacy of her death. It would be hard to describe the emotions that our family has dealt with, the last eleven days.

    There are no words in any dictionary or language to describe the full beauty, love, compassion, selflessness, generosity, and kindness of Rebecca. Her Zahau name was "HNIANGSINMAWII" meaning "SPRINGTIME BEAUTY" and yet she was the beauty of every season. If you had met Rebecca, you could not help but love her.

    Rebecca often anticipated the needs of family, friends, and co-workers. She offered her help and would be by their side before someone even thought of asking.  She provided support through actions she could take. One friend wanted to run a triathlon. Rebecca signed up for the triathlon even though she did not know how to swim. She then took swim lessons determined to support her friend. She would surprise you with her thoughtfulness. Rebecca was one of the first people to visit a friend in the hospital with whom she had no contact in many months. Rebecca always found ways to touch everyone’s life.

    Rebecca lived a life in motion and was full of energy. She focused on wellness in both body and spirit.  She was a fitness fanatic.  She loved to take on the most challenging workout regiments such as hiking the Grand Canyon. I would call her in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday and find out that she was already back from hiking Camelback Mountain or one of the local trails in Phoenix. Rebecca was very intelligent and achieved anything she set her mind on. Rebecca valued her life and lived her life to its fullest.

    Rebecca loved God, her family, and life. Rebecca lived a life that was family centric. Although there was a geographic distance between us, Rebecca always made us feel she was right here with us.  She honored and admired her parents.  She was a role model to her younger siblings. She adored her nephew and niece.  Rebecca was taken from us far too soon.  It is hard to accept that she will not be a part of our lives as her younger brother and sister get married, her nephew and niece graduate from high school, and the other many family milestones ahead of us.

    We love you so much Rebecca! Your smile, your joy, your liveliness, your eagerness, your creativity, your love, and your strength will be in our hearts forever. Every sunrise, every sunset, the beauty of every season will remind us of you and your beauty. Now you are in heaven with your Lord among the beautiful, the glorious, and among the angels where you belong. You look down upon us with your smile as beautiful as always and say "I am with my Lord where there is no pain, no tears, no more sadness nor crying, and where there is no more death."

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jonah and the Shacknai family on the loss of their son Max. We know he was a special child, who will be missed.

    We appreciate the continuous outpouring of condolences from families, friends, and people in various parts of the nation and all over the world. This reflects who Rebecca was.  Her legacy will continue to live in our hearts.  

    The Zahau Family

    Her death came two days after Shacknai's son was hospitalized when he fell down the grand staircase inside the same home.

    Zahau's cause of death is pending autopsy results, but Sheriff's deputies have so far hesitated to label this a homicide.

    "This is a very bizarre death, there is no doubt about it, no question about it," said Sheriff's Capt. Tim Curran. "Until we can absolutely establish one manner or another, we're not ready to call this a criminal matter or a suicide."

    Zahau and Adam Shacknai 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, Curran said. He refused to reveal where Jonah Shacknai was at the time Zahau was found.


    Full timeline of the deaths at Spreckels Mansion



    On Monday, Coronado police were called to the same home for the incident involving Jonah Shacknai's 6-year old son Max. The boy had fallen down stairs, was not breathing and did not have a pulse when paramedics arrived, officials said.

    Emergency crews administered CPR and transported the child to a Coronado hospital. He was transferred to Rady Children's Hospital.

    A female inside the home called 911 to report the child's accident, officials said.

    “At that time, and at this time, we have no information to believe that this is anything other than a tragic accident with the child,” Coronado Chief Louis Scanlon said.

    The Shacknai mansion, one of the most storied residences in Coronado, was built in 1908 as a beach home for John D. Spreckels, who owned the nearby Hotel Del Coronado.

    The 27-room main house includes six bedrooms, 4.5 baths, basement, attic, an unfinished wine-storage room used during Prohibition and a guest home.