Coronado, California is as near an ideal place to reside as you will discover on the planet. It options a fantastic seaside, secure streets, nice retailers and eating places, a widely known playhouse, golf programs, a sweeping blue harbor bridge that attaches it to San Diego, and the historic Resort Del Coronado. The town is bordered on either side by the US Navy SEAL Crew base and Naval Air Station North Island, the place President Obama lands when he arrives on Air Pressure One to go to San Diego. In case you can afford to reside there – and small homes begin at over a million {dollars} – it is paradise.

The Coronado police division protects and serves guests and vacationers, longtime residents, retired army officers, and new and outdated moneyed individuals. (John McCain’s spouse, Cindy, owns a seaside view condominium in Coronado). With about 45 sworn members, it retains the peace in a largely peaceable metropolis. So on July 13, 2011, when a younger girl was discovered lifeless on the grounds of a $12 million Coronado home (often called the Spreckels mansion, after a founding father of town of San Diego) owned by a wealthy entrepreneur, they referred to as within the San Diego Sheriff’s Division murder unit to assist them examine.

Rebecca Zahau, 32, was the girlfriend of 54-year-old Jonah Shacknai, a rich enterprise proprietor whose firm manufactures well being and wonder dietary supplements. Within the early hours of July 13, Rebecca hung herself over a second-floor balcony. Her bare physique was discovered on the bottom beneath, by her boyfriend’s brother, who was dwelling on the property in a visitor home.

Her dying was a part of an odd sequence of occasions within the house. Two days previous to Rebecca’s dying, Jonah Shacknai’s six-year-old son, Max, was severely injured in a fall from the second story staircase on the house. Baby abuse and murder investigators consider Max tripped over one thing or fell as he was leaping down the staircase and sustained a life-threatening head harm. They don’t consider the boy was pushed or was assaulted in any manner.

The idea is that Rebecca blamed herself for Max’s accidents to such a level that she killed herself out of regret or disgrace. Previous to her dying, she had realized that he wouldn’t survive his unintentional fall and certainly, he died two days after she killed herself.

In accordance with the Sheriff’s Division, simply after one a.m., whereas Max was dying on the hospital, Rebecca Zahau took a bathe, eliminated her garments, and used a paint brush and a tube of black paint to put in writing a message on the door of a visitor room the place she stored her artwork provides. The message mentioned, “SHE SAVED HIM/CAN HE SAVE HER?”

She then tied a size of purple nylon rope, which she might have retrieved from the storage the place boating gear was saved, to the foot of her mattress body. She wrapped the rope over a long-sleeved shirt she had positioned round her neck, sure her toes with the rope, tied her arms behind her again with a collection of twisted loops, shuffled over to a small balcony off the window, and leaned or jumped over the railing. She fell about 9 toes and the pressure of the soar strangled her.

Not surprisingly, this case first fascinated residents of the cities of Coronado and San Diego, earlier than it turned nationwide and worldwide information. How may this home grow to be the scene of two suspicious deaths in such a short while? Was the little boy killed or did he fall? Was Rebecca murdered or did she kill herself as a result of she really abused the boy or as a result of she felt guilt about not supervising him correctly?

In a two-hour information convention, the San Diego Sheriff’s Division supplied an in depth account of their investigation, proof, and conclusions about her dying: the black paint from her door be aware was discovered on her hand and physique; there was a small knife and a big knife within the bed room – her fingerprints had been discovered on the small one and her DNA was discovered on the massive one; her DNA was discovered on the mattress, the rope, the balcony door, and the bed room door; her naked toes and toe impressions had been discovered on the dusty balcony flooring; adjustments within the mud on the balcony railing had been constant along with her physique going over it, as had been the scrapes on her again and legs from hitting the massive crops beneath. No different footprints, fingerprints, or DNA that was not hers was discovered on the scene. There have been no indicators of a combat, wrestle, or sexual assault within the bed room.

Rebecca’s household has disputed the outcomes of the investigation and has employed an legal professional. Nicely-known forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden (no stranger to high-profile media instances involving distinctive deaths), regarded on the case particulars from his workplace in New York, and instructed the San Diego Union-Tribune that he believed the Sheriff’s investigation was legitimate and correct.

Rebecca’s household is outraged that the Sheriff’s investigation may conclude that she killed herself. They disagree that it was from grief, disgrace, or melancholy. She had instructed family and friends that she had felt depressed over the previous yr, however her mother and father did not consider that was true. They mentioned she had quite a bit to reside for her and her character was at all times cheerful.

And what about being bare? Her mother and father insist that their Burmese-Asian tradition is much too modest for a girl to depart herself uncovered in dying. And what about the truth that her arms and toes had been sure? How may she have tied her personal arms behind her again? The Sheriff’s Division really produced a video re-enactment of how they consider Rebecca tied her personal arms, which they confirmed on the press convention that coated particulars of their investigation. Primarily based on how the ropes had been twisted into massive loops round her wrists, it will not have taken an acrobat or the ghost of Harry Houdini to tie her personal arms. (You possibly can view the video hyperlink at

Dr. Michael Baden instructed the native paper that of the 32,000 individuals who killed themselves final yr, hanging was second solely to gun photographs as the strategy for his or her suicides. Many clinicians concerned in suicide analysis or who carry out psychological autopsies on behalf of a health worker’s workplace agree that girls do not normally disfigure themselves of their suicides (i.e., gun photographs to the face or slashed wrists), which makes hangings or intentional drug overdoses as their strategies of selection.

And what concerning the cryptic be aware painted on the door, in Rebecca’s personal hand? Why was it no more express? Why did she write it in such a manner that we will not interpret it absolutely as to what she was feeling, or whether or not she blamed herself for little Max’s accidents and subsequent dying, or why she selected to kill herself in such a provocative manner?

Invoice Gore (who was the Particular Agent in Cost of the San Diego FBI subject workplace previous to his election as San Diego County Sheriff in 2006) mentioned that he reviewed a 2008 Georgetown College Faculty of Medication examine that mentioned the the explanation why individuals dedicated suicide within the nude was as a solution to atone for his or her actions, as a cleaning ritual, or as a self-abasement for his or her guilt.

The suicidal lifeless take their causes with them. Rebecca Zahau had her causes and whereas they’re removed from satisfying for her household, they’re what they’re. There’s nothing at this level that means the Sheriff’s Division botched the investigation. Their work was thorough and actual, not simply because it initially regarded like a homicide, but in addition due to the high-profile nature of the placement, the home-owner, and the earlier incident involving the little boy.

There’s nothing to attach Rebecca’s brother or her boyfriend to her dying, or every other identified or unknown particular person. There is no such thing as a forensically-skilled maniac roaming the streets of Coronado, utilizing suicide eventualities to cowl up his homicides. She is lifeless at her personal hand and that may be a tragedy.

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