Spreckels mansion sold; Evidence released to Zahau family - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Spreckels mansion sold; Evidence released to Zahau family

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CORONADO (CBS 8) -- The historic Spreckels mansion in Coronado where Rebecca Zahau, 32, and a six-year-old boy suffered fatal injuries in separate incidents this summer has been sold to an investment group for an undisclosed price.

The Coronado-based listing agent, Scott Aurich, told News 8 he was contacted a few weeks ago by the mansion's owner, Jonah Shacknai, 54, who asked him to negotiate a deal.

"The mansion at 1043 Ocean Blvd is currently under contract to a local developer who is going to restore the home to its original luster and make some of the modifications that were approved by the (City of Coronado) Historical Resource Commission and do his own modifications as well as those that don't require approval," said Aurich.

The mansion is in escrow to the investment group, which plans to remodel the home over the course of 12 months and sell it at an asking price of $14.5 million, Aurich said.

The 12-bedroom, 11-bathroom home and estate will be put on the market this week in case someone wants to purchase it as is, at a reduced price. "It has not hit the MLS but it's effectively for sale right now," said Aurich.

Shacknai purchased the home in 2007 for $12.7 million. He had hoped to keep the property through retirement, according to Aurich, but the recent tragic events made it impossible for the Arizona pharmaceutical tycoon to return to the seaside home where he vacationed during summer months.

"He's done with it," Aurich said. "His motivation was to just be done and move on. He's no longer part of the deal. He just doesn't want to think for focus on the house anymore."

Shacknai's son Max suffered a fall down the mansion's main staircase July 11 and died from resulting brain injuries five days later.

On July 13, Rebecca Zahau – Jonah Shacknai's girlfriend – was reportedly found hanging from a bedroom balcony at the home. Her death was ruled a suicide after a seven-week investigation by the San Diego Sheriff's Department. Detectives said she may have been distraught over Max Shacknai's accident, which occurred while Zahau was babysitting the boy.

Aurich said both deaths will be disclosed to potential buyers.

"That is a California requirement that anyone who has passed away in the house over the previous three years has to be disclosed," said Aurich.  "But I'm not sure there's anybody who doesn't know the story already."

Zahau's family believes Rebecca may have been murdered, in part, because she was found naked, bound and gagged. Her body was exhumed last week and a second, private autopsy was performed Friday in Pittsburgh by world-renowned pathologist Cyril Wecht. The results are expected to be discussed during a November episode of the "Dr. Phil" television show.

Last week's autopsy was the first phase of a private investigation by the Zahau family to determine whether Rebecca was the victim of foul play.

On Monday, a Sheriff's spokesperson confirmed that all evidence from the department's death investigation has been released to Zahau family attorney Anne Bremner. The Seattle-based attorney could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

Bremner's co-counsel confirmed the Seattle office has received hundreds of pages of witness statements and police reports, as well as transcripts and audio recordings.

The records are being scanned and reviewed in advance of a news conference planned later this week in Seattle.

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