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“[This] is one of the great crime mysteries of modern times. It took an author of Caitlin Rother’s caliber to bring it into sharp focus. A riveting read.”
—Gregg Olsen, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“I got a girl, hung herself in the guest house.”
The call came on the morning of July 13, 2011, from the historic Spreckels Mansion, a lavish beachfront property in Coronado, California, owned by pharmaceutical tycoon and multimillionaire Jonah Shacknai. When authorities arrived, they found the naked body of Jonah’s girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, gagged, her ankles tied and her wrists bound behind her. Jonah’s brother, Adam, claimed to have found Rebecca hanging by a rope from the second-floor balcony. On a bedroom door in black paint were the cryptic words:
SHE SAVED HIM CAN YOU SAVE HER.
Was this scrawled message a suicide note or a killer’s taunt? Rebecca’s death came two days after Jonah’s six-year-old son, Max, took a devastating fall while in Rebecca’s care. Authorities deemed Rebecca’s death a suicide resulting from her guilt. But who would stage either a suicide ora murder in such a bizarre, elaborate way?
Award-winning investigative journalist Caitlin Rother weaves stunning new details into a personal yet objective examination of the sensational case. She explores its many layers—including the civil suit in which a jury found Adam Shacknai responsible for Rebecca’s death, and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department bombshell decision to reconfirm its original findings. As compelling as it is troubling, this controversial real-life mystery is a classic American tragedy that evokes the same haunting fascination as the JonBenet Ramsey and O.J. Simpson cases.
“Rother’s meticulous journalism shines through in this authoritative account of the Rebecca Zahau death incident. If you think you know this case, think again. And read this book.”
—Katherine Ramsland, professor of forensic psychology and author of The Psychology of Death Investigations