On July 11, 2011 6 year-old Max Shaknai, son of wealthy pharmaceutical company CEO Jonah Shaknai, was found lying on the floor at the foot of the staircase with his Razor scooter resting on top of his leg, the shattered chandelier nearby. Rebecca Zahau, Jonah's live-in 32 year old girlfriend found Max, rushed to his side and heard him say the word "Ocean" - the name of her dog, before he slipped into unconsciousness. Rebecca's 13 year old sister was visiting at the time, and Rebecca instructed her to dial 911 immediately.
According to Jonah's ex-wife Dina, the doctors first suggested Max may have had a heart attack and fallen down the stairs. Both she and Jonah were asked if they had ever had heart problems.
July 13, 2011 Max Shacknai died. Earlier in the day Jonah's brother Adam arrived at the Spreckle's mansion in Coronado where Max, Jonah and Rebecca resided. Adam was a 42 year old tug boat operator and would-be writer from Memphis, Tennessee. In a deposition Adam says he tried to comfort an understandably distraught Rebecca and offered her a shoulder to cry on.
Jonah Shaknai says at approximately 12:30 p.m. July 13 he called Rebecca to inform her Max wasn't going to make it. She sent and received several text messages and at 12:50 a.m. she listened to a message from her voicemail, a message that was subsequently deleted either by the police, investigators, or Rebecca. By 3 a.m. she was dead, an apparent suicide.
Adam Shaknai, who was staying in the guest house, reports that he went to have coffee in the main house at around 6:30 a.m. and saw Rebecca's nude body hanging from the second floor balcony from a rope or cord. He says he cut her down and tried to perform CPR while calling 911. He ankles had been bound with a red cord and blue T-shirt had been stuffed in her mouth. She also had duct tape residue on her ankles and a strange message was painted on the interior of her bedroom door in black paint. Authorities deemed Rebecca's death a suicide.
Another physician, discounting the heart attack angle in Max's death tells Jonah and Dina Shacknai Max could have been suffocated. It is also believed Max may have been racing his scooter along the second floor corridor, tripped over the dog Ocean, and grabbed the chandelier as he fell.
Not analyzed was a drop of blood in the shower by the master bedroom, a pair of panties found in the guesthouse trash, or a clear glass of liquid found near the scene. Dr. Wecht asks why tape residue would be found on Rebecca's ankles if she was found with cord wrapped around her ankles. Did she remove duct tape herself and then tie her self up instead? There also were lacerations on her scalp and scratches other wounds on her body. What happened - to Max, and to Rebecca?