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Mysterious Coronado mansion death may be homicide

July 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is investigating a mysterious death at a Coronado oceanfront mansion, where a young boy was seriously injured just a couple of days before.

Deputies have identified the woman as 32-year-old Rebecca Nalepa, also known as Rebecca Zahau. The question investigators are still trying to answer is if the death was a homicide or a suicide.

The circumstances are suspicious. Investigators say she was found dead, naked, and bound with what looks like an orange electrical cord at the historic Coronado estate known as the Spreckles Mansion.

As of now, deputies are not ruling out anything.

Nalepa was the girlfriend of Jonah Shacknai. He is the CEO of Medicis, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based pharmaceutical company, and the owner of the multi million-dollar mansion.

Jonah Shacknai's brother Adam discovered Nalepa's body about 7 a.m. Wednesday.

"The reporting party, later identified as Adam Shaknai, told officers he found the victim with a rope around her neck hanging from a balcony at the main house," said Capt. Tim Curran from S.D. County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies say Adam Shacknai was staying at the house along with Nalepa, and Jonah Shacknai was not at the ocean front property when the body was found.

Deputies have no suspects and are still trying piece together what took place.

"There are numerous items of evidence, the scene was pretty suspicious," said Curran. "We are not ready to determine if it was a suicide or a criminal act."

Two days before Zalepa was found dead at the mansion, there was another incident at the home. According to Arizona Republic News, Shacknai's 6-year-old son was hospitalized after he was seriously injured when he fell down the staircase at the mansion.

Zalepa was at the home when the boy was injured. Sheriff's deputies say the two incidents are not related.


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