Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pharmaceutical Tycoon's girfriend found dead a week after his son fell from stairs

 Police are investigating reports that a noisy party was held at a mansion the night after a six-year-old boy fell down the stairs and was fatally injured - and just hours before his father's girlfriend was found dead hanging naked from a balcony.

Max Shacknai, the son of multimillionaire pharmaceutical tycoon Jonah Shacknai, died at a San Diego hospital yesterday as a result of the fall. 
Two days after the accident his father's girlfriend, Rebecca Nalepa - who was looking after him at the time - was found hanging naked from a second-storey balcony, her hands and feet bound with orange electrical cord.
Reports of a party, which would have taken place as Mr Shacknai and his ex-wife held a vigil at their son's bedside, deepen the mystery surrounding the two deaths at the historic Spreckels Mansion in the upscale Coronado suburb of San Diego.
Last Monday, Max fell down the stairs at the property in what police called a tragic accident. He was not breathing and did not have a pulse when paramedics found him.
In a joint statement issued last night, his parents announced that the little boy died at Rady's Children's Hospital in San Diego yesterday, and a memorial service will be held today.
Tragedy: Six-year-old Max Shacknai died one week after he fell down the stairs of his millionaire father's mansion in an upscale suburb of San Diego. His father's lover was found dead on WednesdayThe death of 32-year-old Miss Nalepa, described by police as 'very bizarre', came just two days after the fall.

Mr Shacknai's brother, Adam, who was staying in the mansion's guesthouse, cut her down to try and save her then called 911. Mr Shacknai was not at home, police said. 
Adam told detectives he found her hanging by her neck from a second floor balcony, with her hands and feet bound.
Firefighters tried to revive Miss Nalepa, who they described as being 'in distress', but she was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Detectives are still waiting for forensic test results to help determine whether Miss Nalepa committed a ritualised suicide or whether she could have been murdered.
Now police have told Mail Online that they are taking another bizarre twist seriously.

Together: Jonah Shacknai with his 32-year-old girlfriend Rebecca Nalepa, who was found dead hanging nude from a balcony at his mansion
'We received information that there may have been a party at the house on Tuesday,' said Homicide Sergeant Roy Frank. 'This is only a report. The exact nature of the get together at the house is something we will be looking at.'

Despite the fact that the victim was found bound at her hands and feet, Sergeant Frank said police have not ruled out suicide.
One theory being examined is that she was overwhelmed with grief after the accident involving her lover's son.
But investigators have not established a formal connection between the two tragedies. Sergeant Frank said officers were carrying out interviews with witnesses and waiting for forensic tests.

Rebecca, who has a past conviction for shoplifting, had given up her job as an ophthalmic technician in December to devote her time to Mr Shacknai, Max and his other two children.
Sprawling: The mansion where Nalepa's body was found, which is owned by pharmaceutical millionaire Jonah Shacknai She was discovered naked, hanging from a second-storey balcony with her feet and hands bound with orange electrical cord, police have revealed.
She met what officers described as a 'very violent and very suspicious end' at the mansion.
While an autopsy has been completed, police are not releasing the details and have not yet ruled whether her grisly death was murder or suicide.
Speculation mounted it could be connected to the accident just days before.
Rebecca,  who had been in a relationship with Mr Shacknai for two years, was reportedly looking after the little boy at the time.
The mystery surrounding her death, which police have described as 'bizarre', deepened as it emerged a loud party had been held at the 27-room house on Tuesday night, the day before she died - and the day after the little boy's accident.

Police said Adam Shacknai is not currently being considered a suspect, although he was the only other person believed to have been in the 27-room mansion when Miss Nalepa died.
Both brothers and Mr Shacknai's ex-wife Dina, who is six-year-old Max's mother, are being questioned by police as witnesses.

Adam Shacknai

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