Dead mother found naked and hanging from a balcony
- Rebecca Zahau was found hanging from the mansion's second-floor balcony
- Was discovered naked but her arms and legs had reportedly been bound
- Her family are suing the brother of her millionaire boyfriend for wrongful death
- While authorities classed death as suicide, family convinced she was murdered
- Two days earlier, she was the adult in charge when her stepson fell to his death
Published: 13:03 GMT, 27 February 2018 | Updated: 13:45 GMT, 27 February 2018
Rebecca Zahau, who died back in 2011
The family of a woman who was found dead in a San Diego mansion have launched a $10million civil case against her millionaire boyfriend's brother accusing him of her murder.
Rebecca Zahau was found naked and hanging from a balcony at the mansion owned by her boyfriend Jonah Shacknai, the CEO of a pharmaceutical company.
It happened just two days after Shacknai's six-year-old son Max had fallen to his death from a second-storey balcony at the mansion.
The family claim that Mr Shacknai's brother Adam blamed her for the tragedy because she was responsible for the boy at the time.
They allege that he killed Rebecca in revenge and have filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
It is claimed that he was the only other person in the house when she died and also that Rebecca's legs and arms had been bound.
Investigators recorded her death as suicide in 2011.
The trial started on Monday and jurors were selected for the civil case.
Forty-five potential jurors spent Monday filling out questionnaires.
They will return Tuesday with them filled out and questioning will continue.
The family of a woman who was found dead in a San Diego mansion (pictured) launched a $10million civil case against her millionaire boyfriend's brother accusing him of her murder
Zahau's was found hanging from this second-floor balcony (left). It happened just two days after Shacknai's six-year-old son Max (right) had fallen to his death from a second-storey balcony at the mansion
Rebecca Zahau was found naked and hanging from a balcony at the mansion owned by her boyfriend Jonah Shacknai, the CEO of a pharmaceutical company. They are pictured here together
If all runs smoothly, the jury could potentially be sat by the end of the day with opening statements expected as early as Wednesday.
The family of Zahau filed the $10million wrongful death suit claiming that she was murdered in 2013 – almost two years to the day after her death.
Authorities ruled Rebecca Zahau's death July 13, 2011 a suicide.
It was the second bizarre tragedy in days at the multimillion-dollar Spreckels Mansion in Conrado, California, which belonged to Zahau's boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai – the CEO of a pharmaceutical company.
Just two days earlier, Shacknai's six-year-old son Max fell off a staircase in the home and was killed. He died days later in the hospital.
Zahau was the only adult home at the time.
Zahau's sister and her mother are alleging in the lawsuit that Zahau did not kill herself – but was murdered.
The court filing doesn't provide any specific evidence, but alleges 'defendants planned and prepared to batter and murder Rebecca and did thereafter brutally, and with malice aforethought, stalk, attack, choke, bound and hang her.'
The family claim that Mr Shacknai's brother Adam (pictured) blamed her for the tragedy because she was responsible for the boy at the time
Other family members were implicated by the family in 2013, but it is not clear at this stage whether that is still the case.
Jonah Shacknai, the billionaire founder of Arizona-based Medicis Pharmaceutical, is not named in the lawsuit.
Shacknai and Zahau had been dating since 2008.
An extensive investigation by the San Diego County Sheriff's Office found no criminal wrongdoing in either death and no charges were ever filed.
Authorities said Zahau killed herself because she was distraught over a fatal fall that Shacknai's 6-year-old son suffered at the house two days earlier.
His death was ruled accidental.
Adam Shacknai was staying in a guesthouse at his brother's historic Spreckels mansion at the time of Zahau's death, the U-T reported.
Adam Shacknai told police he found Zahau hanging by a rope from a second-story balcony at the mansion, and cut her down.
Her hands were bound behind her back, her feet were bound and a T-shirt was wrapped around her lower face.
The remodeled mansion was sold last month for $9million to the owner of a private aircraft company in Utah.