Reports allege history of domestic violence in Shacknai home - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Reports allege history of domestic violence in Shacknai home

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Jonah Shacknai Jonah Shacknai
Ex-wife's injuries from an alleged attack by Shacknai's guard dog (Sept. 2006 photo) Ex-wife's injuries from an alleged attack by Shacknai's guard dog (Sept. 2006 photo)
Ex-wife's injuries from an alleged attack by Shacknai's guard dog (Sept. 2008 photo) Ex-wife's injuries from an alleged attack by Shacknai's guard dog (Sept. 2008 photo)

CORONADO (CBS 8) - Newly released police reports from Arizona document allegations of a volatile relationship between Jonah Shacknai and his second ex-wife.

The records detail three incidents at the pharmaceutical tycoon's Arizona residence between 2007 and 2009. In one case, Shacknai claimed his wife had been drinking and taking prescription drugs before trying to choke him in September 2008.

The woman told police she was attacked by Shacknai's German shepherd during several arguments inside their Paradise Valley home, and turned over photos of past injuries allegedly inflicted by the dog as early as 2006.  In the reports, she claims Shacknai was "not quick to pull the dog away."

In a prepared written statement to police, she said, "I feel scared of what he is capable of doing to me physically via the dog as well as the lengths he will go to try to destroy me in any way he was able to do so."

In 2009, the woman claimed Shacknai had elbowed her in the chest before driving off following an argument. Shacknai characterized the incident as a "nudge." The documents show no arrests were made and no criminal charges ever filed.

In a letter to police, Shacknai wrote, "I have been assaulted physically several times by my wife... In one instance, I was treated for a broken finger as a consequence of one such assault."

Late Monday night, a spokesperson for the Shacknai family issued the following written response to the public release of the Arizona police reports:

These new details come as questions and theories continue to swirl around Shacknai's idyllic summer home in Coronado, which has now been tied to a second bizarre death.

Police are now awaiting the autopsy results of six-year-old Max Shacknai, who investigators say was found unconscious at the Spreckels Mansion last Monday after an apparent fall down a staircase.

In a statement released by his father, he says, "His loving, kind and vibrant spirit will forever be in our hearts, and those whom he touched every day."

The statement, however, did not include comments about the death of Shacknai's girlfriend of two years, Rebecca Zahau, whose body was found nude, bound and hanging from a balcony at his $7 million estate Wednesday morning.

While investigators have said the two deaths don't appear to be connected, residents remain suspicious.

"(Max) losing his life in such an accident - that is rare. And two days later someone shows up dead. Obviously there's some kind of connection," a neighbor said.

The sheriff's department has yet to rule Zahau's death a suicide or homicide, and her autopsy results have been sealed. Coronado police have also sealed the autopsy results of Max Shacknai.

No arrests have been made in connection with either death.

Late Monday night, a spokesperson for the Shacknai family issued the following written response to the release of the Arizona police reports:

Jonah and Dina Shacknai today issued the following statement in response to media inquiries related to the release of police reports by the Paradise Valley Police Department:

While our marriage did not work out as either of us had hoped, it did produce a wonderful son, Max, whom both of us loved very much. His loss is unimaginable. These police reports are not reflective of the totality or the precise details of the events during a difficult time in our marriage that we worked through together. The release of the records as we grieve Max's recent loss pains us greatly, and we request that the privacy of our family be respected. The unfortunate attention to these records is a distraction from the most important concern of honoring our beautiful son, who lives on in both of our hearts.

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