The 6-year-old son of a pharmaceutical company executive died Sunday, almost a week after falling down the stairs at his father's historic mansion — the same house where his father's girlfriend was found dead hanging nude from a balcony two days later, the boy's parents said.
Max Shacknai died at Rady's Children's Hospital in San Diego, Medicis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. chairman and chief executive Jonah Shacknai said in a statement along with ex-wife Dina Romano, the boy's mother.
"With great sadness, Dina and I convey the tragic passing of our beloved son, Max (affectionately known as Maxie)," the statement issued through Medicis Pharmaceuticals said. "Despite heroic efforts on the part of paramedics and hospital staff, he was unable to recover from the injuries suffered early last week. His loving, kind and vibrant spirit will be forever in our hearts and those whom he touched every day."
On Monday, Max fell down the stairs at the historic Spreckels mansion in Coronado in what police called a tragic accident. He was not breathing and did not have a pulse when paramedics found him.
On Wednesday, officials said Shacknai's 32-year-old girlfriend, Rebecca Nalepa, was found dead hanging nude from a balcony at the mansion, her hands and feet bound. Shacknai's brother, Adam, who was staying in the mansion guesthouse, called to report Nalepa appeared to be dead, police said. Jonah Shacknai was not at home.
Sheriff's Capt. Tim Curran has called the death "very bizarre."
Sheriff's investigators said last week they have not established any connection between the two deaths, and have not determined if Nalepa was a crime victim and have made no arrests. They said they have not ruled out suicide.
Phone messages left late Sunday with sheriff's homicide investigators were not immediately returned.
The 27-room Spreckels mansion was built in 1908 in the wealthy seaside suburb of about 24,000 people on San Diego Bay. It is named for its original owner John D. Spreckels, who also owned the majestic Hotel del Coronado and two local newspapers, the San Diego Union and San Diego Tribune.
Coronado had just one homicide last year, and the police department asked the sheriff's department to help with the investigation.
Jonah Shacknai, 54, founded Medicis, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., and has been chairman and CEO since 1988. The company's products include acne treatments Solodyn and Ziana and facial wrinkle treatment Restylane and Dysport, an increasingly popular competitor of Botox.
Shacknai bought the mansion in 2007 after agreeing with historic preservation officials that he would not make major changes to it, the San Diego Union-Tribune said.
He has been twice married and twice divorced, and has two other children aged 13 and 14, the newspaper said. Shacknai and Romano, his second wife, divorced in 2008.