“It’s possible that after slowly removing all of her clothes in a mysteriously symbolic candlelit ritual, she slipped the rope over her own neck, then had an accomplice tie her wrists and feet before hurling her bare-skinned self over the balcony rail.”
– Millionaire’s lover committed suicide because of guilt over death of six-year-old step-son, reveal police (Daily Mail, August 23, 2011):
A woman found hanging naked two days after her millionaire boyfriend’s six-year-old son was fatally injured while in her care, committed suicide, police sources have revealed.
Rebecca Zahau, 32, was found hanging with her hands and feet bound at pharmaceutical tycoon Jonah Shacknai’s Coronado, California, mansion on July 13.
The millionaire had been questioned about the death, but detectives are now reasonably confident that the death was suicide, reported NBC San Diego.
Ms Zahau died two days after Mr Shacknai’s six-year-old son suffered a severe brain injury after falling from the grand staircase at the mansion.
Sources told the local station that she felt tremendous guilt over the injury.
They added that it is thought she tied her hands and feet so she could not save herself.
‘I could see a person binding their hands so they wouldn’t be able to help themselves trying to get out of the noose once they committed the act of hanging,’ retired homicide detective Rick Carlson told NBC San Diego.
‘It really doesn’t seem a reason why they would bind their feet.’
Ms Nalepa was found by Mr Shacknai’s brother, Adam, who was staying in the mansion’s guesthouse to offer support after Max’s accident.
The millionaire had told investigators he was holding a desperate vigil by his son’s bedside at the time of Miss Nalepa’s death.
Mr Shacknai, 54, issued an emotional statement after Max died, but has made no public comment about Miss Nalepa’s death.
In the weeks after the deaths, reports surfaced that Mr Shacknai and the boy’s mother had had physical fights when their marriage broke down in 2008 and 2009.
Miss Nalepa had given up her job as an ophthalmic technician last year to devote herself to Mr Shacknai and his children.
She had also been married before, and in May she reverted to her maiden name of Zahou.
Despite his two divorces, friends said he was determined to start again and spend ‘the rest of his life’ with Miss Nalepa.
Sources said: ‘It was a very serious relationship. There was a lot of love there. Jonah had every intention of proposing to Rebecca.’