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Son, Girlfriend of CEO Die After Incidents at San Diego Mansion

 

The 6-year-old son of a prominent pharmaceutical executive died Sunday, almost a week after falling down the stairs at his family's mansion and four days after his father's girlfriend was found dead hanging from a balcony in the house.  

Max Shacknai died Sunday at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego nearly a week after falling down stairs at the historic mansion owned by his father, Medicis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. chairman and chief executive Jonah Shacknai, on San Diego Bay. 

The boy's death also comes four days after the body of Shacknai's girlfriend, 32-year-old Rebecca Nalepa, was found nude, bound and hanging from a balcony on Wednesday, Fox5SanDiego.com reports.

Nalepa was reportedly with the child at the time of the accident two days earlier. Officials have yet to determine if her death was a suicide or a homicide. 

Jonah Shacknai, along with his ex-wife Dina Romano, the boy's mother, released a statement, saying: "With great sadness, Dina and I convey the tragic passing of our beloved son, Max (affectionately known as Maxie)."

"Despite heroic efforts on the part of paramedics and hospital staff, he was unable to recover from the injuries suffered early last week," the statement said. "His loving, kind and vibrant spirit will forever be in our hearts and those whom he touched every day. The loss to our families, Max's many friends of all ages and teammates, and the community is immeasurable." 

Max fell down the stairs on Monday at the historic Spreckels mansion in Coronado in what police called a tragic accident. He was not breathing and did not have a pulse when paramedics found him and took him to Rady Children's hospital.

On Wednesday, officials said Shacknai's 32-year-old girlfriend, Rebecca Nalepa, was found dead hanging nude from a balcony at the mansion, her hands and feet bound. Shacknai's brother, Adam, who was staying in the mansion guesthouse, called to report Nalepa appeared to be dead, police said. Jonah Shacknai was not at home.

Sheriff's Capt. Tim Curran has called the death "very bizarre."

Sheriff's investigators said last week they have not established any connection between the two deaths, and have not determined if Nalepa was a crime victim and have made no arrests. They said they have not ruled out suicide.

Phone messages left late Sunday with sheriff's homicide investigators were not immediately returned.

The 27-room Spreckels mansion was built in 1908 in the wealthy seaside suburb of about 24,000 people on San Diego Bay.

Coronado had just one homicide last year, and the police department asked the sheriff's department to help with the investigation.

Jonah Shacknai, 54, founded Medicis, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., and has been chairman and CEO since 1988.

Click for more on this story from Fox5SanDiego.com 

The Associated Press contributed to this report 

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