Cops: CEO's Lover's Death Probably Suicide

Sources say police believe bizarre death was self-inflicted
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2011 6:32 AM CDT
Rebecca Nalepa, the girlfriend of Arizona pharmaceuticals tycoon Jonah Shacknai, was found dead hanging nude from the second-floor balcony of a historic mansion, her wrists and ankles bound.   (AP Photo/Horizon Eye Specialists & Lasik Center, Dwight Smith)

(Newser) – Police probing the mysterious death of the girlfriend of pharmaceutical CEO Jonah Shacknai are becoming convinced that it was a suicide, sources close to the investigation tell NBC San Diego. Rebecca Nalepa, 32, was found hanging naked from a balcony at Shacknai's San Diego mansion with her wrists and ankles bound, leading police to initially suspect the death was a homicide.

Nalepa was guilt-ridden over a severe brain injury suffered by Shacknai's 6-year-old son Max when she was watching him, the sources say. Max died in the hospital four days after her body was found. Experts believe she may have bound her hands and feet to make sure she couldn't save herself. "I could see a person binding their hands so they wouldn't be able to help themselves trying to get out of the noose once they committed the act of hanging,” a retired homicide detective says. “It really doesn't seem a reason why they would bind their feet."

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