Wednesday, August 3, 2011

#RebeccaZahau :Arizona CEO Shacknai's son has died, family confirms

by Robert Anglen and Ken Alltucker - Jul. 17, 2011 05:58 PM
The Arizona Republic

Jonah Shacknai, founder and CEO of Scottsdale-based Medicis Pharmaceuticals Corp., on Sunday announced that his 6-year-old son, Max, has died of injuries he sustained in a fall inside the family home last week.

"With great sadness, Dina (Shacknai's ex-wife and the boy's mother) and I convey the tragic passing of our beloved son, Max," said Shacknai, in a statement released to the media.

"Despite heroic efforts on the part of paramedics and hospital staff, he was unable to recover from the injuries suffered early last week."

Television stations in San Diego and Phoenix began reporting Friday night that Max Shacknai, known as Maxie to his family, had died of brain injuries. Other television stations reported that the boy was brain dead and on life support.

The family released its public statement late Sunday afternoon.

"His loving, kind and vibrant spirit will forever be in our hearts and those whom he touched every day. The loss to our families, Max's many friends of all ages and teammates, and the community is immeasurable," said Shacknai.

The family asked for privacy to grieve their loss.

Shacknai said contributions his son should be made to the Whispering Hope Ranch Foundation, 9045 E. Pima Center Parkway, Scottsdale, or via website at

On Wednesday, two days after the boy was hospitalized, police and emergency crews responding to a 911 call found Shacknai's girlfriend dead. She reportedly had been found hanging by her neck from a second floor balcony.

Police said that Rebecca Zahau, 32, was nude and that her hands were bound behind her back and her feet tied.

On Sunday afternoon, Coronado police said they had no information about the boy's death, and the San Diego Sheriff's Department said it had no plans to investigate Max's death because so far, it had only been asked to investigate Zahau's death.

Homicide detectives with the San Diego Sheriff's Department called the scene suspicious and bizarre but said they have not yet determined whether Zahau committed suicide or was murdered.

Late Friday night, deputies stretched crime-scene tape across the front of the historic 27-room mansion on Ocean Boulevard as officers searched the house for the second time in a week.

The Sheriff's Department, which is investigating the death at the request of the small Coronado police force, has sealed all records relating to the case, including search warrants, the initial autopsy reports and other police documents.

Coronado police spokeswoman, Leah Corbin, said there appeared to be no connection between the boy's fall and Zahau's death.

"It just seems to be a tragic accident," she said.

As accounts of the boy's death were broadcast this weekend, small bunches of flowers began accumulating in a water bucket near the sidewalk in front of the mansion.

San Diego station Channel 8 was among media that quoted a message on the social-media website Facebook that was reportedly posted by Gabriele Shacknai, the 14-year-old daughter of Jonah Shacknai.

"RIP Maxie. We'll miss your sweet smile and kind heart more than you'll ever know. I'll love you forever," the posting said, according to the station.

The death rumors continued to fuel talk at restaurants and shops along Coronado's main drag Saturday, as it has dominated conversations throughout the week.

"I guess anything can happen anywhere," said Danielle Goldblatt, a barista at Café 1134. "It doesn't matter who you are or where you are."

Goldblatt and others say that the tragedies are a reminder that death visits everywhere, including this tranquil paradise.

"I live here, I'm from here, A lady was killed here," said Marco Perez, manager of Emerald City Surf Shop. "In a town like this, I don't think (authorities) have a plan for dealing with . . . a murder."