Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:September 4th, 2011 15:53 EST
jonah and rebecca thumbnail

Is Mansion Mystery' Case Closed, Or Are There More Anomalies Than Ever Before?

By John G. Kays

"She Saved Him Can You Save Her." A black painted inscription scrawled on a bedroom door, that leads into a room with the balcony from which Rebecca Zahau supposedly committed suicide by hanging herself.

rebecca zahau mansion

How can the Medical Examiner and the San Diego Sheriff`s Department rule Rebecca Zahau`s unusual death a suicide, and in such a hasty manner? How could she bind her own hands and feet before jumping from the mansion balcony? And why would she bind her hands and feet in the first place? What was her purpose in killing herself completely in the nude?

max shacknai

If Rebecca wrote this undecipherable message in black paint (She Saved Him Can You Save Her), then what in tar nation is the intention behind it? Is it a twisted irony, suggesting that she saved Max (or perhaps it could mean Jonah?), but can anyone save her? And isn`t it more logical that it would be a killer who leaves this sort of Sybil`s riddle behind?

anne bremner

Remember the Zodiac case in Northern California (late `60s, early `70s) who mailed letters to the San Francisco Chronicle with comparable confounding ciphers. The `Mansion Mystery` is vastly different, yet they share a California location and both cases are unsolved. Okay, so you don`t have to take that road if don`t want to.

jonah and rebecca two

But it could take you to somewhere (at least), because the case is essentially closed for these San Diego investigators presently, even though there are more un-reconciled bits of evidence lying around than ever before. For example, what about doing a handwriting analysis of this black painted riddle of a cipher? No mention of this at Friday`s news conference.

Another telling item that was hushed up at this `sweep it under the rug` news conference, was the presence of duct tape residue on Rebecca`s shin. This evidence was included in the autopsy report. "On the anterolateral mid left shin there is a 1 x 5/8 inch gray piece of material and two smaller similar pieces just distal to it, measuring ¼ inch and 3/8 inch (Comment: appears similar to tape residue."

How can we interpret this duct tape residue evidence? At best, suspiciously; certainly not consistent with a suicide. Then we have the misplaced blue shirt that was wrapped around her neck (outside of the red-orange rope ligature), apparently used as a gag. Why would Rebecca Zahau need to gag herself when she would be dead from a hanging already?

This is another unexplained clue left at the scene of this highly unusual `suicide.` One can only speculate, but perhaps Rebecca feared that she`d scream out, then someone would come and save her. But since she wanted to die, she didn`t want anyone to save her. Still, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to gag yourself, when you hang yourself.

It does make a little more sense, however, if another party was involved. Furthermore, the back end of the encryption makes more sense if a killer planted the rag-in-the-mouth and says `can you save her?` in the Manson Family-like `door double-entendre`, as if she is taunting the public with a desperate, last minute plea for sympathy.

These are the earmarks of a frame-up, (if ever I`ve seen one), by someone (a culprit) who wanted to rid themselves of this lady. Her two sisters (Mary Zahau-Loehner and Snowem Horwath) have vehemently denied that Rebecca had any psychological problems, or would be prone to suicide in any form or fashion. 

Snowem told HLN: "My sister was murdered, that`s it. There`s no way, my sister would commit suicide in such a state." Then Mary made this statement to HLN (also). "My sister never had a psychiatric problem, never (had) been on psychiatric medication and never had attempted suicide " let alone ever talked about harming herself."

The two sisters know their sister Rebecca well. You can`t help but believe them. Anne Bremner, the high-profile attorney representing the Zahau family, said the suicide conclusion "doesn`t pass the smell test. " The best proof for this, is the phone conversation that Mary had with Rebecca the day before she died (July 12th).

Zahau indicated her plans to take breakfast the next morning to the stricken Max Shacknai (the 6-year-old son of Jonah Shacknai). She also mentioned that she was planning on calling her parents on that Wednesday, July 13th. Why would Rebecca be making a check-list of things to do, if she wasn`t planning on being around to carry out these chores?

Just maybe, she had no intention of killing herself. But just maybe, somebody else did. This would better explain her death. And another inexplicable irony, or coincidence (if you prefer), is the fact that Max lived beyond Rebecca. She didn`t know for sure he would die, although, she had heard on a voice message his condition had deteriorated.

Therefore, it is inconceivable she could feel guilty for Max`s death since he hadn`t died yet. And where`s proof she confessed as to her feelings of guilt (either by email, in a phone conversation, or a text message) for Max`s accident, since she was his care keeper at the time? And remember, she left no suicide note that would divulge what her motive was?

An interview with Anne Bremner on Fox News recently, revealed yet some more anomalies that are not easily reconciled. The investigators claim it`s only Rebecca`s fingerprints and DNA present in the room in which the suicide occurred. Anne said something about mixed DNA at the scene, but she didn`t elaborate anymore on this pronounced contradiction.

Another anomaly that sounded funny to me, is Bremner said that no reenactment had been performed. (The question remains, how could Rebecca tie her own hands and feet.) I thought I had remembered hearing or reading that the San Diego investigators had confirmed a simulation of this Houdini-like feat by a totally nude, distraught woman.

Anne Bremner also asked the question as to why the authorities are in such a rush to close the case. Who is pressuring them? Will it go away just because they say it`s over with? If anything, just the opposite is happening. The Mansion Mystery is heating up to a fever pitch, with every tabloid in the world screaming for answers to discrepancies, in what is looking like a pile of loose ends the size of Grand Canyon.

Is there any precedent for this type of suicide? No one has found a case such as this in any dead files or dusty police records heretofore. On the other hand, just for a moment, let`s suppose it was a professional job, with an intentional motive in mind of humiliating Rebecca Zahau. Cops say they found an old text message (of Rebecca`s) stating `she was having issues with her boyfriend`s children.` Now you`re talkin`!