Lawsuit alleges murder in ’11 death

Rebecca Zahau was found hanged at a mansion.
Dwight Smith/Horizon Eye Specialists & Lasik Center
Rebecca Zahau was found hanged at a mansion.

SAN DIEGO — The family of a woman who was found hanged at a California mansion has filed a $10 million lawsuit claiming she was murdered.

The suit was filed Friday in federal court by the family of 32-year-old Rebecca Zahau and seeks general and punitive damages. Zahau’s body was found at a Coronado mansion in July 2011 and her death was ruled a suicide.

But Zahau’s family always believed her death was suspicious. The lawsuit alleges that Adam Shacknai and Dina Shacknai, the brother and former wife of Zahua’s boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai; and Dina’s twin sister, Nina Romano, were responsible for the woman’s death.


The lawsuit doesn’t provide specific evidence against the three, but alleges that they killed Zahau at the mansion of her billionaire boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai. He was not named in the lawsuit.

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No criminal charges were filed.

Attempts to reach Adam Shacknai, Dina Shacknai, and Nina Romano on Sunday were unsuccessful.

Authorities said Zahau killed herself because she was distraught over a fatal fall that Shacknai’s 6-year-old son suffered at the house two days earlier. His death was ruled accidental.

Adam Shacknai was staying in a guesthouse at his brother’s mansion at the time of Zahau’s death. Dina Shacknai was staying in a vacation home a few blocks away, and Nina Romano had flown in from Sacramento to be with her sister.


Adam Shacknai told police he found the nude body of Zahau hanging by a rope from a second-story balcony.

Associated Press