Millionaire's son dies after fall at mansion

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CORONADO, Calif. -- A private memorial service was being planned Monday for a 6-year-old boy who died after falling down the stairs at his father's historic Coronado mansion.

On Monday, Jonah Shacknai's 6-year-old son Max was seriously injured in a fall down a stairway at the 103-year-old Ocean Boulevard property, known locally as the Spreckels Mansion. The boy was taken to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego where he died days later as a result of his injures.

Shacknai released this statement Sunday at 6 p.m.:

"With great sadness, Dina and I convey the tragic passing of our beloved son, Max,'' Shacknai said on behalf of himself and his ex-wife, the boy's mother. "Despite heroic efforts on the part of paramedics and hospital staff, he was unable to recover from the injuries suffered early last week. His loving, kind and vibrant spirit will forever be in our hearts and those whom he touched every day.''

The boy's mother, Dina Romano, a child psychologist, divorced Shacknai in 2008. She also has a home in Coronado, several blocks from the mansion where the boy was injured.

Max, also known as Maxie, fell down stairs at the Spreckels mansion a week ago. Last Wednesday, the nude body of Shacknai's 32-year-old girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, was found hanging from a mansion balcony with a rope around her neck, her hands and feet bound.

Shacknai, founder of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., has not spoken publicly about his girlfriend's death but issued a statement Sunday regarding his son.

The family has plans to hold a private memorial service. Contributions in honor of Max may be made to

Whispering Hope Ranch Foundationonline or mail to 9045 E. Pima Center Parkway, Scottsdale, AZ 85258.

Shortly after 10 a.m. Monday, officers and medics responding to an emergency call made by a woman at the estate found the child unconscious, without a pulse and not breathing, Coronado Police Chief Lou Scanlon told reporters.

The injured youngster's grandmother told the Arizona Republic he was with 32-year-old Rebecca Zahua at the time of the accident. Zahua was found nude, bound and hanging by the neck from a balcony at the mansion, two days after Max's injuries.

Officials have yet to determine if Zahua's death was suicide or homicide. They announced Friday that they would not release the cause-of-death results for Zahua pending toxicology screenings.

Last week, investigators said they had no evidence of any connection between Max's accident and Zahua's death.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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