Girlfriend of pharmaceutical exec found dead at his home

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 14, 2011 2:28 PM
Girlfriend of pharmaceutical exec found dead at his home

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - The girlfriend of a pharmaceutical company CEO has been found dead at his mansion near San Diego, prompting an investigation by homicide detectives, police said on Thursday.

The body of Rebecca Nalepa, 32, was discovered on Wednesday evening at the seaside home owned by Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp chief executive Jonah Shacknai in Coronado, an upscale island beach resort connected to San Diego by a long bridge.

A statement posted online by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department identified Nalepa as the girlfriend of the homeowner.

Land records show that Shacknai, whose Scottsdale, Arizona-based company is maker of the acne treatment Solodyn and wrinkle-filler Restylane, purchased the landmark property known as the Spreckels Mansion several months ago.

The local television station 10News showed overhead video footage broadcast from its news helicopter of the crime scene in the mansion's courtyard on Wednesday night, and reported that the woman was found naked and bound with rope.

"The condition of the victim and the scene showed suspicious circumstances that initiated the response" from homicide investigators, the sheriff's department statement said.

The sheriff's department is handling the case in conjunction with the Coronado Police Department. A news conference on the investigation was scheduled for later on Thursday.

Medicis issued a brief statement on the incident without giving details.

"The Medicis family is deeply saddened to learn of a tragic incident at a California property owned by Jonah Shacknai," the company said. "Our thoughts are with Jonah and his family and ask that the family's privacy be respected during this difficult period. At this time, the company has no further comment."

Shares of the company, which reported 2001 revenues of $700 million, tumbled by as much as 5 percent following news of the investigation.

(Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb)