Investigators Rule Death Of Rebecca Zahau A Suicide, Family Unconvinced

Written by Rob Soto on Sep. 04, 2011

The family of the woman who was found nude hanging from a balcony at the home of her billionaire boyfriend don’t believe that her death was a suicide as investigators are now claiming. Rather, the family thinks that Rebecca Zahau may have been murdered.

The woman’s body, who was found on July 13 at the Coronado, California mansion of her boyfriend Jonah Shacknai, came just two days after Shacknai’s six-year-old son from a different marriage, Max, who was being babysat by Zahau, died in a hospital after he was critically injured when he fell down the stairs in the home.

Investigators told the family of their findings at the their home in St. Joseph, Missouri. While they admit that the suicide would have been difficult to carry out, they said that it was “very possible.”

In an interview with RadarOnline, Zahau’s sister, Snowem Horwath, feels that the ruling by the investigators is a “big lie” and that their theory has many “holes.”

“Becky did not kill herself, someone killed her,” she told the celebrity website. “Time will reveal who killed Becky. I think I know who killed my sister. We are not stupid; she never had any enemies.

“Things they said did not match and they said they had a text message on her phone that showed that she was very unhappy, but they didn’t even say if it was from her or from someone else, or if someone could have put it there,” Horwath said.

Mary Zahau-Loehner, Rebecca’s sister, also concurs with Horwath. “Nothing adds up,” she told the media.

She notes that she spoke with her sister the night before her body was found and found no indication that she had planned to take her own life and that no suicide note was found.

Anne Bremner, who has been hired by the family, says that the family “just want to know the truth. They don’t want to drive the case any given way.”

Other media reports suggest one reason that Zahau allegedly committed suicide is because of being depressed over the death of her boyfriend’s son.

Shacknai, who is the chairman and chief executive of Medicis Pharmaceuticals, was not at home when the suicide took place, officials say.

At one point during the investigation, an anonymous law enforcement source was quoted saying that Rebecca’s death wasn’t by suicide. “The evidence we have gathered so far, points us in the direction of this being a very, very suspicious death,” the source said at the time.


  • Rebecca Zahau Nalepa had borderline personality disorder. She had problems holding down jobs. She was arrested for shoplifting in Arizona in 2009.

    • AZ resident

      Yes and she lied quite a bit too. You’d have to have a mental disease to be with Jonah Shacknai and to be a beautiful 32 yr old woman and be with an OLD failure fart like that. His money and all the stuff he does like call clients on their birthdays is just his way of “putting it on” from the outside. This is not a “nice” man, not a “good” man and not a “good father”. Any may twice failed at marrige and disrespectful to the mother of his children is NOT a “good” father no matter how many bed time stories he reads to them. And where was the child-proofing to the mansion? And where was he when the child fell? Dina she’s a royal piece of garbage herself. The cute little boy may have been blessed to escape a DYSUNCTIONAL family like that. Jonah, accept failure or fail until you do. Either way murder or suicide, reflets your failure. And what the heck OLD man were you doing with a vulnerable young woman like that? You should be embarrased and ashamed of your behavior. Truth is you have to find someone young and naive  and codependent because a normal, healthy, decent woman your age wouldn’t have anything to do with you.

    • Anonymous

      Just throwing out crap?  What proof do you have?  

    • Anonymous

      Just throwing out crap?  What proof do you have?  

  • Ali

    Hands tied behind back, and kills self?? ok buddy, nice story and how much you paid lawyer? lets investigate lawyer, judge, prosecution and see what kind of ties they have. then start a new investigation, next case.. 

    • Narita4u

      Ali, agreeable, someone paid all the judge, police, investigation, medical doctor who did autosy, others to shut and close this case. Start  a new investigation for everything and hire John W. Keker, the super lawyer to represent the case. There is a corruption, bribe or racial discrimination here.

  • Karina

    Kids run away from monster.
    Asian women take pride of their looks.
    Most women don’t like to be look at nude.
    My husband loves to be in the nude, but never around guest.
    When was the rope perches?
    Who perches the rope?
    How can she jump off that balcony with her feet and hands bound?
    Have you seen the picture of balcony?
    What can you tell us about brother Adam?

    • guest

      There is something hiding about brother Adam, and no one or police mentioned anything about him. Why he cut the rope and NOT wait and let the police cut it instead? If the boy did not died, she is possibly not dead either so is it a revenge or what?
      Why the case was so closed and sealed by the police?

  • Karina

    I was taking care of my sister son he was about six. We were at loft game room. He was running when he slip by a soccer ball. His body chest first hit the rail. Then sled down to his right leg on his bottom. He was ok Thank God. But I remember thinking his chest went only half way of the rail. I said Thank God he is only six had he been nine it would have been a different story.

  • Akasi Lee

    Not only is Shacknai guilty as hell, but so are are the police.  Shacknai was obviously the murderer yet he was rich enough to have the police cover it up for him. Since when is the boyfriend or husband never suspect in the case of a woman’s death? Not even the news questions this enough. Even in the death of a child, the closest person of that child (the parents) is suspect. This is another example of racist bias. Obviously this woman is not human enough for the media. Shacknai’s last statement is that the police did a great job and now he and his family can move on. Oh my god….What has this world come to. Seems the boyfriend got off scott free. There should be more questioning by the media, but there isnt.. Why not?  His brother Adam probably knew Johah did this heinous act and so cut her down.

  • Guest

    and the gun weilding ex?

  • Anonymous

    Women don’t hang themselves outside in the nude. Never has happened.. There is no proof whatsoever that she was distraught to the point of suicide.  Obviously she is going to be upset but not nearly as upset and seeking revenge as the boys actual parents.  No step-parent has ever committed suicide or committed murder over the accidental death of a step-child EVER.

  • Anonymous

    Women don’t hang themselves outside in the nude. Never has happened.. There is no proof whatsoever that she was distraught to the point of suicide.  Obviously she is going to be upset but not nearly as upset and seeking revenge as the boys actual parents.  No step-parent has ever committed suicide or committed murder over the accidental death of a step-child EVER.

  • Anonymous

    The brother Adam had motive, means, and opportunity.  He also conveniently raced to San Diego at his brothers request.  Was first on the scene, and any DNA that was his was dismissed because he acknowledged touching her and the ropes. 

    • Jasminrose

      Well —-exactly —-Tempering with Her..+  touching the  cloth in Her mouth……Dha)……Dna”    thing…He  couse Mixed dna….But there are  Other  arrows  Pointing to the 2 Main Men —    right Smack)   In the  center……Thy  are  In the  center…..A  thorough  Invesigation  should have been in Place…….There are the Proofs”  of diffant things   that Point to  Her beeing Killed  rith  There …In   this House !!…What  are the ridiculous   Excuses —not  to  Investigare   By the ways”  of the  Attorny of the Family…???????

  • Anonymous

    The brother Adam had motive, means, and opportunity.  He also conveniently raced to San Diego at his brothers request.  Was first on the scene, and any DNA that was his was dismissed because he acknowledged touching her and the ropes. 

  • Anonymous

    Her death was not instant, she did not snap her neck she suffocated, if she knew she could easily get out of her bindings why didn’t she try?  Someone else tied those knots, someone else bound her feet so she could not run, someone else made her leave her fingerprints in obvious places, someone else pushed her to the window and pushed her over the rail.  Someone she knew, someone with access, someone that knew the layout of the house and where the knives were.  The evidence provided already proves who that someone is.    

  • Jasminrose

    Of course ====it’s Not a suicide,   How can  any Inteligent  Person —would say It was ??    How can the Sherrif…Ms. Dumont ( Bonni )  would expect  anyone to Believe their  story…As  It  doesn’t even  make sense.  Unless It makes   This   Looks  @ Feels  like a Killing of thie Innocent  woman. suicide   would have been a Privat scene ..But   Ms. Zahau —-Never  Intended to kill herself ….It was done to Her…Woman’s  clothigs were fownd at Guesthouse —amongst nany  other   things, Leading to the direction of  She was Killed at that House….Usually —the 1st  “Person of Interest’  would be the one who   found Her ….In  This case ——It’s the  Same Man…..@ Only one —-who  Officially —-Stays at the House……Why, then not  Insist on  another Polygraphy  test ??  every one  Is  asking….@ why not at    Searching for Clues  in the guest house ??….@  Other Places there….She was probebly not Killed at Her B   room…that’s who the  sighns of struggle….are  suggested to have been at the Guesthouse…….No photos were shown of the only 2 Men right (smack)…..In The  Center of this ….their arms..face…neck..??However….She was  Sustained 4 Hard Blows to the Head,,, —According to some Forensics  speculations —-so there wouldn’t be much “sighns of struggle”…….Is the Police or whoever Looked  after this —so  narrow minded ??   She’s a small woman —Up  against a Man..( prosumably)  who was planning  on this …( Dah…..)  How much “sighns of struggle”…woud You expect ??….