Home / National News / California Mansion Death: Family Files Lawsuit Alleging Murder


(SAN DIEGO) — The family of Rebecca Zahau, whose body was found naked and bound at a multi-million dollar, historic mansion in Coronado, Calif., in July 2011, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in San Diego federal court alleging that she was murdered.

Zahau’s mother, Pari Zahau, and sister, Mary Zahau-Loehner, are seeking $10 million in damages and a trial by jury, according to the complaint filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

The lawsuit names Adam Shacknai and Dina Shacknai, the brother and ex-wife of Rebecca’s multi-millionaire boyfriend Jonah Shacknai, as well as Dina Shacknai’s twin sister, Nina Romano, as defendants.

Rebecca, 32, was found “dead, naked, bound and gagged, with a rope noose around her neck” on July 13, 2011.  She was discovered on the grounds of the Spreckles Mansion, which belonged to Jonah, the multi-millionaire founder and CEO of Medicis Pharmaceutial Corporation in Scottsdale, Ariz., the complaint said.

Rebecca’s mother and sister allege that Adam, Dina, and Romano “participated in some manner in the planning, implementation, execution and subsequent concealment of the scheme to murder” Rebecca, according to the complaint.  The suit does not provide any specific evidence against them.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of the two-year anniversary of Rebecca’s death, which had been ruled a suicide.

Jonah is not named in the lawsuit.

Rebecca’s death came just days after Jonah’s 6-year-old son Max fell down the stairs at the mansion.  He died of his injuries on July 16, 2011.  Police ruled his death an accident.

ABC News’ attempts to reach Adam, Dina and Romano were not immediately successful.  Calls to the Zahaus and their attorneys listed in the lawsuit were not immediately returned.

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