Adam Shacknai — the brother of millionaire Jonah Shacknai — has been found liable for the death of Rebecca Zahau, RadarOnline.com has learned. He was the one who allegedly found the woman’s body hanging in his sibling’s California mansion, and called 911.
According to ABC News, a San Diego jury awarded Rebecca’s family $5 million in damages after determining Adam was liable for her passing.
Adam also was ordered to pay Rebecca’s family $167K to make up for the financial support she could’ve given them.
As Radar previously reported, Rebecca Zahau was found bound up and hanging in Jonah’s second-floor balcony on July 13 of 2011. Hours before, she’d reportedly checked her voicemail to find out her pharmaceutical tycoon boyfriend’s son, Max, was dying. Investigators claimed Rebecca felt responsible for the boy’s tragic demise, since she was the one taking care of him when he fell down the stairs of his father’s mansion and became unconscious.
“The case is certainly suspicious,” Sgt. Roy Frank of the San Diego sheriff’s homicide unit told PEOPLE in 2011. “It is not usual to find a female in a backyard unclothed and tied up. That, combined with Max’s accident, makes it suspicious.”
While Rebecca's death was initially ruled a suicide, her family lawyer accused Adam Shacknai of sexual assault and murder. He has not been charged.
The criminal case has not been reopened, but investigators are willing to consider new evidence.
“We are always open to reviewing any evidence that could impact our conclusions,” the department told PEOPLE in a statement this week. “Additionally, we are also willing to meet with the Zahau Family to look at any new evidence that came out of the civil trial.”
Adam’s lawyer denied the allegation made agains his client, saying in a statement: “There is no credible evidence that Adam Shacknai played any role in this tragedy other than being in the awful position of discovering Ms. Zahau’s body and immediately calling 911.”
Stay with Radar for updates.
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