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Woman Found Dead at Historic CA Mansion

'Bizarre' death occurred two days after another 'tragic accident'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2011 2:22 PM CDT

(Newser) – The girlfriend of a pharmaceutical company executive was found dead at a historic California mansion, her nude body hanging from a rope on a second-floor balcony with her hands tied behind her back and her feet bound. Rebecca Nalepa's body was discovered at the Coronado home of Jonah Shacknai, founder, chairman, and chief executive of Medicis Pharmaceuticals, an Arizona-based company that makes acne and facial wrinkle treatments including Restylane. Investigators call the circumstances "bizarre" and "unusual," but have not ruled out suicide.

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Shacknai's brother, Adam, called 911 Wednesday to report the 32-year-old woman appeared to be dead; his brother was not home at the time. Adam was staying in a guesthouse at the Spreckels mansion, a 27-room home built in 1908 and originally owned by the owner of San Diego's majestic Hotel del Coronado and two major area newspapers. Sheriff's investigators have not established any connection between the woman's death and another tragedy two days earlier, when Shacknai's 6-year-old son with his ex-wife was found not breathing and with no pulse after falling down some stairs. He is being treated at a San Diego children's hospital. (Read more death stories.)

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