Rebecca Nalepa, 32, girlfriend of founder and chief executive Jonah Shacknai of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., a pharmaceutical company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., was found dead at his California home, one of many houses in a wealthy neighborhood, Wednesday in what officials are calling suspicious circumstances.
Nalepa's body was discovered Wednesday morning by Shacknai's brother Adam, who is staying in a guest house on the Coronado, Calif., property, according to Captain Tim Curran of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Adam Shaknai and Ms. Nalepa appear to have been the only people on the property at the time of the incident, according to officials.
CEO Shacknai was not seen at his Coronado home when Ms. Nalepa was found in the morning or when the Coronado Police arrived at the scene, authorities added.
We have not determined if this is criminal or if this is a death investigation, Capt. Curran told WSJ. Whether it is a homicide or a suicide, it is one of the most bizarre and unusual cases we have ever seen. An autopsy was being conducted Thursday; the San Diego County Medical Examiner will determine the cause and manner of death, a process that could take several weeks, WSJ reports.
According to WSJ, the brother told police officers that he found Ms. Nalepa with a rope around her neck and hanging from a balcony off the main house, Capt. Curran said, adding that Adam Shacknai cut down Ms. Nalepa before police arrived on the scene. Capt. Curran told WSJ that police found Ms. Nalepa nude, with her feet and hands bound behind her.
This is a very bizarre death, there is no doubt about it, no question about it, Capt. Tim Curran told MSNBC. Until we can absolutely establish one manner or another, we're not ready to call this a criminal matter or a suicide, he added.
Businessweek reports that the company's shares dropped 3.8 percent - $1.52 - to $38.53 in afternoon trading, while broader trading indexes fell slightly.