crimesider

Exec, wife had stormy past before son died, say police

Exec, wife had stormy past before son died, say police
Jonah Shacknai and Rebecca Zahau
CBS/KFMB

(CBS/KFMB/AP) SAN DIEGO - Newly released police reports from Arizona document allegations of a volatile relationship between the wealthy parents of a 6-year-old boy who died after a fall down the stairs of his father's historic mansion.

Pictures: Girlfriend, son die days apart at tycoon's Calif. mansion

Max Shacknai died after the fall on July 11 at the mansion of pharmaceuticals tycoon Jonah Shacknai.

Two days after the fall, Jonah Shacknai's girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, was found dead, hanging nude from a second-floor balcony with her wrists and ankles bound.

Investigators said they have not established any connection between the boy's fall and the death of Zahau. Autopsy reports on both deaths are being sealed due to the ongoing investigation.

According to records obtained by CBS affiliate KFMB that were released Monday by police in Paradise Valley, Ariz., show Max's parents, Jonah and Dina Shacknai, going through a stormy divorce. The documents do not indicate any arrests were made in the disputes.

In September 2008, Jonah Shacknai went to a police station to report that his wife "came at him and tried to choke him," according to the police report. Dina Shacknai told police the couple's German Shepherd bit her during an argument.

"She explained that during these incidents the dog responds to Jonah, who while he has not intentionally had the dog attack Dina, Jonah is not quick to pull the dog away when he goes after her," the report said.

In January 2009, Dina Shacknai told police her husband elbowed her in the chest after he refused to read a bedtime story to their son. Jonah Shacknai disputed her account, telling police that he had to "nudge her" out of his car as he prepared to leave the driveway and she reached in while the engine was running.

When Max fell down the stairs, Zahau was at home with a 13-year-old girl whom authorities won't name but was not related to the Shacknais. Paramedics found the boy wasn't breathing and did not have a pulse. Investigators said the fall was an accident.

Investigators said Zahau's death was suspicious but they haven't ruled out suicide.

More on Crimesider
July 15, 2011 - Naked, bound woman found hanging at historic California mansion


  • Edecio Martinez

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.