Murder, Mystery & Makeup - Rebecca Zahau - What REALLY happened in the Spreckels Mansion?

hello friends how are you

today I hope you’re having a wonderful day so far

happy Monday

my name is Bailey

Sarian and today is Monday

welcome to another

episode of Murder Mystery and Makeup Monday

if you are new here

every Monday I sit down I talk

about a true crime

story that’s been heavy on my noggin

and I do my makeup

at the same time I do my makeup because I it just like

keeps me busy doing something so that’s why I do it

and then we talk

about true crime

if you like true

crime and you like makeup

I would suggest

you subscribe today’s

story I want to talk

about Rebecca Za how

and her very mysterious

mysterious case there is just it’s just

it’s just like what the hell

that’s what it is it’s a what the hell case but

other than that

I will stop rambling and let’s get into this

tragic story

so this story

like I said is

about Rebecca Zahow

but there is also a lot that kind of went on in the

house most of my stories I kind of try and talk about

the whole family

background and get you give you an idea of

where they come from

essentially but

I just feel like there are so many different names and

people involved in this case that it

could get really overwhelming get to the

point Bailey get to the

point I’m gonna

start off with Max

Shaqnai and Max was a 6 year old boy in

2011 is when this happened

and his parents were

Jonah Shaqnai

and Dina Romano

Jonah who was 54 at the time

he was a wealthy CEO

of a pharmaceutical company

who mainly sold

Restelin cosmetic filler

he was a self made billionaire

he had a lot of

money he also had a very stiff face

no that’s not

funny so his

primary residence was in Arizona

he would vacation

pretty often

at the Spreckels mansion

in Coronado

California now Coronado

is for one beautiful but all the

houses are millions of dollars I mean

it’s for the very rich

and wealthy people

so Jonah and Dina

were together they were married

and then they had the son

named Max and they

divorced in 2008

Rebecca Zahaw

who was 32 her and Jonah Shaqni

were a couple they had met

at a job that Rebecca was working at in Arizona they

seemed very in love and very

happy Rebecca was staying at the Spreckels mansion

in Coronado for the summer

and she was with the family

Max and Jonah

and then her sister

Xena who was 13

she came to

visit from Missouri

so the Spreckels mansion

was the biggest and most beautiful

home in Coronado some reports say that it had

27 bedrooms but actually I looked it up

because it’s for sale

right now it has

10 bedrooms 11 bathrooms

right on the

ocean it’s beautiful

if I say it’s one more time

so on July 11th

2011 Rebecca was with her

sister who was

visiting and they were at the

spa breckel’s mansion Jonah

he was at work

max was a happy well developed 6 year old boy

his mother reports that he was not a daredevil at all

so somehow that day Max had

taken a pretty bad fall over the

second story banister of the Spreckels mansion

and then that turned into fatal injuries

nobody witnessed

Max fall it’s really unclear as to what

caused Max to go over

the banister

there are tons of theories

as to what could have happened he was riding his

scooter and he fell off and

foul play but what

we know for sure

is that Max was

found on the

first floor

with fractured facial bones and a spinal

cord injury

resting on max’s leg was his

scooter and the chandelier that was hanging from

the ceiling

it had broken off

and it had fallen

it wasn’t on him though

but it had fallen 2

other people present in

the home at the time of max’s fall was Rebecca and her

sister both of them reported that

they hadn’t

seen Max fall

they had no idea as to what happened Rebecca

had reported that she was in the bathroom at the time

and her sister was

getting ready to like take a shower

so rebecca’s in the bathroom and she just

heard just a really loud noise

and then she came running out and she saw that Max

was injured

she called over to her 13 year old

sister call 911

Rebecca says that when she ran out to

go find Max on the

floor that he was conscious and he was saying the word

ocean and Ocean was the name of their dog

so she thought

maybe he was trying to say that

it was the dog that did it

or something but she did tell

first responders

that he was saying the name ocean

first responders

they would later on

testify in court that they overheard

Rebecca saying dina is

going to kill me

and Dina was max

mother when Max was

taken to the children’s hospital

Max was unresponsive

and he wasn’t breathing

so a lot of people question Rebecca

like well how did he how was he saying ocean

if when he was being

transferred to the hospital

he wasn’t even

he wasn’t even breathing he wasn’t even responsible

a lot of people

started to kind of question

what really happened investigators reported

that Max he played on a scooter

he played with soccer balls like in the hallway area

that’s kind of

where he would

play a lot many

have alleged that Max was either like riding his

scooter in the

house and tripped

or either the dog came into

place somehow and he tripped

and fell and then that’s how he fell over the railing

grabbed onto the chandelier on his way down

and then there are

others who highly disagree that

this can’t even be possible

there’s no way that this happened max’s

mother ended up hiring a private firm

to really look into

max’s fall they concluded that max’s

center of gravity was far too low to

allow him to go over the railing

along with his

scooter also they said that the shag carpet

in the hallway

it was just way too

thick that it

would have prevented Max

to ride at a

speed that would

throw him over the banister

max he had no cuts on his hands

despite the fact that he supposedly

grabbed the chandelier on the way down but

after this private firm had looked

into max’s fall they couldn’t even like replicate

how this could have happened

and they concluded

it had to be foul play that was involved

but when the

scooter was

looked at it was shown that on the bottom of the

scooter there was like

white paint and

white markings and some

dents and it

lined up exactly with the

dents that were on the railing of

the staircase

there were some theories that Max was trying to

use his scooter and go down the railing

he ended up falling

and then he

grabbed onto

the chandelier and took that down with them remember

razor scooters

on YouTube and on TV and

stuff you would see

kids using the

scooters to go down

railings to go over

staircases pretty much just act a fool on

their scooters

so some theories were saying that

max was trying to go

down the railing or something and do one of

these tricks he saw

but unfortunately

he ended up falling police investigators

ended up concluding it a terrible and

tragic accident

max was rushed to a local

children’s hospital by

ambulance and was in critical condition in ICU

his parents

Dina and Jonah

were right there

by his side

like the entire time it didn’t look too good for

so Dina had called up her twin

sister Nina

and Nina flew into town to come

you know be there for her

sister be there for the family

Rebecca went to the airport to pick up Nina

and then Nina

would later say that Rebecca was acting

really strange

whenever she

asked her like what

had happened she was kind of beating around the bush

like she wasn’t giving a straight answer the next day

Rebecca also

went down to the airport

to pick up Jonah

his younger brother and his name is Adam

and Adam worked on the


River and he was a

tugboat pilot

since like 1997 so

she picked up Adam

that way the

whole family

could come in and be there to support

max remained on life support in ICU

his condition

did seem to be

stable or even improving Adam Jonah

Rebecca they all

went home for the

night and they had dinner

on July 12 2011

and then Jonah

the dad he went back to the children’s hospital

to being next to Max

Adam and Rebecca

ended up staying at the home by themselves

Adam stays out in the

guest house it’s fine though

cause the guest

house is massive too and then Rebecca was in the

large house by herself because her

sister had flown back the day before

okay I know

we’re getting there

so Adam is in the back

house he reported

saying that he took an Ambien

sleeping pill

and then he fell asleep around 8 pm on July 12

the next morning July 13th at 6 48 am

Adam he called 9 one

one so on this 9 one one call Adam says that he

found a body it was

bound gagged

nude and hanging from the second

story balcony

of the mansion

on the 9 one one call the

first thing you hear Adam say is

yeah got a girl

hung herself at the house

on Ocean Boulevard across

from the hotel

where you guys came yesterday for the boy

like the 911 call is

weird why did

he call her just a girl and he knew who she was

so the whole

thing was just

kinda that was

weird and that will come into play

later on Adam

said that he was

going to get

coffee and then that’s when he spotted Rebecca

Adam says when he

found Rebecca she was

completely nude

she was gagged by a long

sleeve blue

t shirt the body of the

t shirt was

wrapped around

her neck 3 times the

sleeves of the T

shirt were double knotted and

stuffed into

her mouth her hands were

bound behind her back and her feet were also bound

rebecca’s body was

hanging by a reddish orange rope tied around her neck

the same type of rope was used to bind

her hands and her feet as well the

other end of the rope was tied to the bed

frame in the bedroom in

which Rebecca was

staying Adam says when he saw rebecca’s body hanging

that he ran

to the kitchen

he grabbed a

knife and he

grabbed a 3 legged

table he brought it out there so he

could get on the

table and cut the rope

he then says he removed the

t shirt that was around rebecca’s neck and in her mouth

he removed that and then he began

to perform CPR

for some odd reason

I guess like this

story had gotten out to news

outlets and then they sent out like a news helicopter

and this helicopter went around the

house they captured

rebecca’s body which was

still outside and it

was she was

still naked

she wasn’t even covered

and then they showed it on TV

they blurred it

but what the

f are you guys doing

cause the police had already been there

you know I’m just a nobody but from my

understanding most of the times at a

crime scene they

cover the body with something but they

didn’t like they just left Rebecca

out there still nude

on the grass

this made the family extremely upset

I mean Frog

obvious reasons any of us

would be upset if that happened to like one of

our family members why were they showing it on the news

so the San Diego

Medical Examiner he

arrived on the

scene 12 hours

after adam’s original 911 call

for 12 hours

rebecca’s body was just

still outside

and she wasn’t she wasn’t

covered over 12 hours

this made a lot of people

upset they believed it was proof

of a compromised investigation

the medical

examiner he determined that rebecca’s official

cause of death was suicide by hanging on her

autopsy report it showed that she had

injury to her neck she had

fractures to the left arm

and also in the autopsy report

there were multiple

scattered like bruises and abrasions

on rebecca’s back

arms and legs

autopsy examiner believed that this

happen because Rebecca

Jenna go straight over the balcony

they believe that she fell at an angle

and when she fell she must have like hit

large plants

under the balcony

there really wasn’t much around the balcony

for her to hit so yeah

it just is like

hmm are you sure that

they also ran a

toxicology report

and it showed that she had no drugs or alcohol in her

system they

estimated that her time of

death was around 3 am

on July 13 2011

so if we go back

to rebecca’s bedroom

a red rope can be seen tied with a slipknot to one

leg of the bed

on the floor near the bed is a plastic garbage bag a

small paintbrush

and a large

paintbrush a

large kitchen

knife and a

small kitchen

knife under

the plastic bag was a tube of

black paint

so rebecca’s hands and her feet

they were widely reported in the

media to be nautical knots

the police investigators

they had said that the type of knots utilized

were a cleat

hitch knot and a slipknot

it isn’t exactly

inaccurate to describe

these as nautical knots

they’re not exclusively used in boating

but for the most part they are

used in boating a slipknot is extremely simple

to create but a cleat

hitch knot is

a bit more complicated

this type of knot is most commonly

used in Sailing Now

pop quiz do you remember when I said Adam did as a

profession in the beginning when I

introduced Adam

and he was a

tugboat pilot

since like 1997

now investors

came back and they were like

these are very common knots everybody knows how to use

these knots they’re not complicated

to do it’s completely overblown by the

media and when I

heard that I was like

bitch shut up no

if you’re familiar with Coronado at all it’s

right on the

water and a lot of people

do own boats there a lot of people do go out on the

water in their

fancy boats

a lot of people

were saying well Rebecca and her boyfriend they

would go out take the boat

and they would go out all the time like

Rebecca would know how to tie

these knots

but rebecca’s family

would say that Rebecca

would complain all the time like he

never takes

me out on the boat we only take it out like once a year

we never use the boat if you look at the

pictures like

these knots

they look kind of complicated so also

rebecca’s feet were very dirty

and they took a look at the balcony and the balcony

was very dirty

and her footprints

were shown like on the balcony you can see like a V

shape so they saw that

it lined up with why her feet were so

dirty and then they also saw like

little bit of a bootprint

now the police they said it was a police bootprint but

they they didn’t

test it or anything like that

they just assumed

that it was

the police boot

so we haven’t even

mentioned the

painted message

that was in the bedroom

a door in the bedroom there were words that were

painted like a

secret message

that was painted on the door

and it said

she saved him

can you save her

I was about to say suspicious

but like that’s just creepy the

whole thing it gives you the

creeps when you see it like what the kind of fucking

shit is going on everybody has

their theories

as to what it means

police have never

figured it out they did not find any

other DNA in the room

besides rebecca’s

so then a witness

comes forward

there was a next door

neighbor she had heard

screaming and it

sounded like a

woman and she was

screaming for help and she was just

there was a lot of

screaming she

heard a lot of

screaming happening

so when the

police interviewed this neighbor they were like

they pretty much told her that she was

wrong that she

heard screaming coming from a

different direction

and then they just pretty much

brush this lady off no one ever interviewed her

again rebecca’s family contacted

high profile Seattle attorney

her name was Anne

Bremner we’re just

gonna call her

Anne and that was in the fall of 2011

and then after reviewing the case details

and she agreed with rebecca’s family that the suicide

ruling was suspicious and

Anne actually offered to take rebecca’s case pro Bono

so Anne had some pretty like high


she brought in this guy

his name was Dr Uh

wech he was a doctor

a renowned forensic pathologist

and he had over 17 000 autopsies

under his belt

so like he’s

seen some shit

so she brings him in

so they decide to do a

second autopsy

but even though like she was

embalmed he

still had like several findings

so there were some

things that this guy

he agreed with

they both noted that there was a lot of damage

to rebecca’s

neck she had severely torn muscles in the

front and sides of her neck

well he agreed that

the findings regarding rebecca’s neck injuries

are consistent with hanging

they are not exclusive

to just hanging

hanging he believed that they

could also be consistent with strangulation

as the cause of

death and she

found it odd

that rebecca’s hair was tucked

under the noose

so she thought this was odd because

many people

especially women

with longer medium to long hair

in most cases they will pull out their hair

from whatever is around

their neck whether it’s a

shirt collar a noose

she said that most

women when they are

found if they did commit suicide

that their hair will be pulled out it was very

strange that rebecca’s hair was not pulled out which

I thought that was so interesting

cause it’s little

things like that that you don’t

think about

but are kind of big clues

you know I don’t want it to

sound like these are my words because it

they’re not my words this is coming from and like she’s

she’s saying that most women

if they were to commit suicide they

wouldn’t do it naked

and that was something that needed to be noted as well

also on both of the autopsy reports

there have been 4 areas like

on top of rebecca’s head that there was a hemorrhage

near the top of her

scalp when the

first autopsy was done there

was a theory that Rebecca did not fall straight down

over the railing that

she kind of felt

sideways remember at like an

angle and that

her head came into contact with trees or bushes

or the balcony itself

causing the small

the small hemorrhages

barely get it together

when the second autopsy

was done they were convinced that this was not the case

they believe it

could have been

caused by intentionally inflicted blows to the head

okay so then comes in

levity levity

is pulling of

blood in the body

after death causing purple

or like a purplish

discoloration of the skin so if a person dies on

their back most likely there will be a pool of blood

that would go with the position

of the deceased

so if you die on your back then there’s

gonna be a pool of

blood like on

your backside

medical examiners they will use levity

to help determine

the time of

death and what position the body was in at the time of

death also be used to determine if the body has been

moved at all

post mortem

levitity it may

begin as soon as 30 minutes

once the person has died becomes

like or permanent

05:56 hours

after death so

when the autopsy was done on Rebecca

the levitity

was fixed in rebecca’s back

if Rebecca had died as a result of hanging

then the levitity

would have been

fixed in the

lower limbs

so in the original

autopsy report they said that there was

blood present in

rebecca’s vagina

isn’t that suspicious

they know or they

think that Rebecca was on her period I know

watch all the guys in the room cringe

and thank God she was and we’ll

get into that then there was this doctor Dr Goodman

he was another like forensic analysis

but he looked at the images that were provided of the

scene and remember

earlier how we talked

about like there was another footprint

on the balcony

the police officer said well it was a police

boot it’s not another footprint it’s just a police boot

well this guy Doctor Goodwin he

looked at this

photograph of

the footprint and

then he compared it to like a police boot and whatnot

and he determined that the boot print was

not from police officers

it didn’t line up with police officers it didn’t

line up with Rebecca because Rebecca

was barefoot and he went on the Dr Phil show and

pretty much

broke down all of it didn’t make

sense there was somebody else on the balcony

and then oddly enough Dr Goodwin he got forced

off of rebecca’s case

but he never

fully explained like why he got forced off

mm hmm so then

guess what there’s more

okay when rebecca’s

death happened

they took in

you know computers and

stuff for evidence to look at and phones

to look and see

if they could kind of put some

pieces together

right so they took adam’s

phone because Adam was at the

house that night anyways so they take adam’s phone

and guess what they find on his phone

no I’m not judging

I’m not you’re allowed to like this kind of

stuff but like

it fits in with the

story they believe that sometime

on the night of July 12

or even the next like

early next day July 13th somebody

you can’t say Adam somebody

had searched terms like sexy

Asian girls and

bondage anime

so again even if he’s

like into that

I mean whatever

but the odd

come on him looking at it the night

before that she gets murdered and she ends up being

bound and what not like

and then of course

police investigators

because they seem to be on team Adam over here they say

that you know somebody must have accessed the computer

now Adam allegedly he did

admit to looking at pornography on

on his iPhone on the morning of July 13th

so then in 2010

rebecca’s family they had filed a $10,000,000

civil lawsuit they had

claimed that rebecca’s

death was a murder

civil lawsuit itself

named Nina Dina

and Adam and it

claims that

Rebecca was beaten gagged

and strangled before being thrown over the balcony

railing the lawsuit

would eventually drop both Nina and Dina

Nina and Dina both had

solid alibis at the hospital

by her son max’s side

video footage

of this as well so

it was pretty solid

and then Dina was at

nina’s house

but some like she had an alibi

I think the neighbor saw her

enter the house

but Adam didn’t have a

solid alibi so he

still is like the number one focus

so once Dina and Nina

their alibis had come out they came out with

their alibis

that’s when

oops that’s when

rebecca’s family

their attorney

Keith Greer

that’s when

he publicly apologized to both Nina and Dina at a

press conference honestly

it’s extremely unusual for an attorney to

make this type of public apology to former defendants

so I thought that was nice

is that the

right word it takes

a big person to

publicly apologize

rebecca’s family

alleged that Adam was solely responsible

for murdering Rebecca

in the early morning of July 13

2011 this lawsuit was permitted

to move forward

the civil wrongful

death trial

it began in February of

2018 does the

Hal family is

was being represented by

Keith Greer

the defendant

Adam he was represented by attorney Dan Webb

and Dan Webb

I understand you know

you know okay

it’s fine he’s

got a job to do Bailey get over it but Dan Webb

was considered like the best of the best he represented

a shit ton of

high profile cases and he was even contacted

by Donald Trump

but Dan had to turn him away because he was

quote unquote

too busy so Dan

tends to represent a lot of the bad guys

he’s really good at it too

and in the video I was

watching of the trial Dan

looks like he’s

about to die he

is intimidating

not that that matters

but it’s just a side note he looks like a toad

a side note

about civil

trials in criminal cases

the jury has to determine

that the defendant

is guilty beyond a reasonable

doubt civil

trials also very rarely result

in the defendant being incarcerated

civil trials

generally deal with monetary damages

against the defendant this was a

civil case was because the San Diego Police Department

determined that rebecca’s

death was a suicide and they were not willing to reopen

it in order to take Adam to

court so that’s why they went the

civil lawsuit way

but the reason the family was doing this wasn’t because

of the money

like they went into this knowing that Adam didn’t have

money he wasn’t a

rich guy his brother was but Adam wasn’t wealthy at all

they did it to pretty much

show everybody else

that he is responsible for this in hopes that they

could open this case

and then be able to

put him in jail so Adams lawyers

they argued in their

opening arguments

that there was

absolutely no evidence that placed

Adam at the scene

of rebecca’s

death and they had a

point honestly there was no fingerprints

no DNA nothing

and he stated that over and over and over

again to really like

drill it into the juror’s head I mean he’s not

wrong there isn’t any proof

so then Adam gets called to the witness

stand now he is just like

so nonchalant

the way he’s

speaking is just

it just sounds I don’t know it just is

what demeanor is like

I bet you if he

would have acted remorseful sad

shed some tears I bet you

it would have been a different outcome for him because

they played it so

heavy on the fact that there was no physical evidence

but the way he’s acting makes you feel like

what a douche

he’s not even like sad or

sorry about what happened

I mean that’s my opinion

so then they play the 911 call for the jury of course

because like

the 911 call is so weird

and when Adam calls 911 he

doesn’t even

refer to Rebecca

by her name he just says that

I’ve got a woman

here who’s hanged herself you know when they ask him

about that he’s just like well

she was a woman

and so they ask him like

about these

types of knots that are used on Rebecca like what

about these knots do you use

these often

and of course he says

no I have no idea how to tie

those knots

and you just want to roll your eyes to the back

of your head because you’re like dude you work on boats

I don’t know

anyways then April 2nd

we have like the closing

statements going down and

Keith Greer comes in

he brings in a realistic mannequin

of Rebecca to the courtroom

and it shows

I won’t show you the

image cause

yeah but it’s a lifelike doll

that looks like Rebecca

and it’s hanging and she’s naked and

you know it’s just adding more

shock to what really happened

Keith was able to like

piece together a

solid timeline

as to what happened that

night he believes that Rebecca was in the shower

she turned it off

and then there was a spot of

blood in the shower

from her period

so they know like the

water was off

cause it didn’t run the

blood down the

drain once Rebecca gets out of

the shower Adam then confronted her something happens

where she ends up on the opposite side of the house

they know this

because there are drops of

blood a dropped

towel and her cell

phone on the floor

so then they believe that she was

struck on the back of the head 4 times by Adam

by some kind of

object then she was

knocked out

unconscious she was

bound and she and gagged

and then sexually assaulted by Adam

and then he

proceeded to strangle her

before she was hanged

and they believed the motive was

due to rage

about what happened to Max

so then the defense

for their closing

statements and they just go in heavy with

saying over and over

again that there’s no evidence proving Adam did this

no fingerprints no DNA

nothing leading back to Adam

and the jurors

determined that Adam

was responsible for the

death of Rebecca

so how so they determined that Adam owed

the family over 5 million dollars in damages

and again they made it

clear in a statement that they knew Adam

didn’t have money

and it wasn’t

about money they just wanted

to get the sheriff’s department to open up this case

do their job

and that it

clearly wasn’t a suicide

Adam has always denied all the allegations and

initially appealed the jury’s

right after he comes out of

court the media asks him they interview

Adam he’s just like

angry right and he calls the

whole family posers

which it’s like what the hell does that mean

but it made a lot of people

upset if he

truly is innocent he’s being accused of

awful things that were done to Rebecca

of course you have a

right to be angry

he should have gotten like some kind of counsel

or something on how to

act because

the way he was acting towards the media

in certain interviews it’s like dude

what are you

doing you’re just making yourself look more guilty

he just comes off as a douche

however in February a

judge dismissed the case but noted

the verdict

against Adam

would remain

which I don’t

quite understand

why they did that

an attorney for Adam said that

while the verdict remains on file

it now lacks legal

standing and

cleared adam’s name

the San Diego

County sheriff’s Department

reopen the investigation but once

again they determined

in December of

2018 that Rebecca had

taken her own life that

is this awful

story about Rebecca Zhao and also

max poor Max

if foul play was involved with Max I feel so

awful because it

completely got overshadowed my own personal opinion

is I believe that Adam was involved physical evidence

but the fact that

a lot of their

stuff was wiped down is

super suspicious

the fact that the

knife had possibly

been inserted into her is

awful because

how she was tied up all of it is just

weird and then the

saying on the wall like what was that

so rebecca’s husband

he wanted the police department

to reopen the case because he did want some closure for

rebecca’s family

so he wasn’t against it

but he did pay for all the legal

to represent Adam

so that’s why he got like the best of the best attorney

he didn’t believe his brother did it at all but

the guy comes from a lot of

money right

like he’s a

self made billionaire

or whatever so he has

all the money in the

world to pay people off

I believe that

maybe he’s been

making donations to the police department

I don’t know like

maybe he has some kind of tie

to the police department

where they felt like they needed to be

loyal to him in a way

and that’s why

they just closed the case and didn’t look into it

because if they prosecute the brother then

maybe I don’t

know it just shows though like if you have

money you could get away with anything

and shit like that drives me

fucking bonkers

I would love to hear your theory on this case

but other than that

I appreciate you so much for hanging out with me

today I hope

that you have a really good day you make good choices

and I will be singing you

guys later bye

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