SHE SAVED HIM CAN YOU SAVE HER – what does it mean?

If Rebecca Zahau’s murderer wanted to the coarse, hastily painted message on her bedroom door to mislead and distract, like the Ramsey note, it did just that. The misdirection begins when we try to fathom the message itself.

The folks on Websleuths have tried to figure this out:

The whole tone of message is taunting and sarcastic and is directed at Jonah. He was the mansion owner and was the most likely person to discover it and the gruesome scene behind the door. 


Is the message directed at Jonah, or is it meant to appear that way [as the Ramsey Ransom Note was meant to appear to be a note to the Ramseys, when it was simply a staged note]? The him could refer to Max, but it could also refer to Jonah. Rebecca saved Jonah from someone else, now, can you save her?

Who is you? It’s unlikely the writer would change Jonah from him in the first line to you in the second, whether or not it’s directed at Jonah.  It does make sense then that:

SHE SAVED HIM refers to Rebecca saving Max [but not actually saving him]

CAN YOU SAVE HER refers to whether Jonah can save Rebecca [no one can].

If we take the taunt on face value, and answer it in its own terms:



Could it be that the message is trying to implicate someone else as the writer, besides whoever wrote it? The “she saved him” does sound like sarcasm and anger, because we know when the message was painted Max hadn’t been saved. He wasn’t dead, but he wasn’t in the clear either. But who else, besides Rebecca and Jonah, would care about Max’s fate, and be scornful of the notion that Rebecca had saved anyone? In fact just opposite, wasn’t Rebecca to blame?

Well, how about Dina, Jonah’s ex-wife?


Fullscreen capture 20190617 052456

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The mysterious death of Rebecca Zahau: Where this bizarre case stands today as the civil suit goes before a jury – ABC

Vindicated’: Dina Shacknai Reacts to Removal from Rebecca Zahau Wrongful Death Lawsuit – NBC San Diego

And we know that in the aftermath, Dina hired a team of expert lawyers to make the case that her son Max was murdered. So we have incontrovertible fact proving Dina had an ax to grind with someone following Max’s death. Who would that be except Rebecca?

Rebecca herself told her sister Mary “Dina’s going to kill me” several times shortly before her murder.

Fullscreen capture 20190612 022912

This directly implicates Dina Shacknai in the murder of Rebecca Zahau, and at one point Dina and her sister were named in a lawsuit implicating them and Adam Shacknai. Dina and her sister were dropped from the lawsuit when hospital CCTV footage appeared to provide an alibi.

But let’s get back to the message on the door. There’s something else about that message that’s weird. It’s in the first letter of the message – the S – which almost looks like it was painted after the fact, or by someone else. The S is oversized and it’s the only letter tilted backwards. It’s also thin and almost dotted, as if the paint ran out, or another thinner brush was used, whereas all the other letters are bold and heavy.

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When we compare the S in the message to the two other S‘s we see exactly how out of proportion it is.

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There’s also something else missing – a question mark. It’s as if whoever wrote the message was asking a question but not really interested in the answer. And what’s that? A rhetorical question.

if we leave the S out of the original message we get:


Consider the possibility that this is a Freudian slip, where the murderer is trying to create an impression, but then slips up by writing what he’s actually thinking, and actually doing [saving himself – him saving himself].

Do you see that?

The message never pretends to be a suicide note. There’s no signature, and it doesn’t pretend to be written by Rebecca. If that was the intention it would read:



The third person aspect seems to purposefully invite a theory of a third party involved, a murderer. The use of block letters seems to be about hiding the writer of the message, as if doing this in paint might be more effective and send the right kind of message than a handwritten message.

If the murderer wrote the message, why would he [or she] draw attention to the idea of a murder, given the effort to stage a suicide? Unless the misdirection is a double misdirection. A misdirection of a suicide, and the misdirection of a murder meant to direct focus away from one person by misdirecting it toward another…sdut-a-local-television-reporter-tal-20160902

22 thoughts on “SHE SAVED HIM CAN YOU SAVE HER – what does it mean?

  1. Which one of these people – Adam, Nina, Dina would you figure to be The Riddler? Because I see the paint scrawl message as meant to be cryptic and a riddle that someone would understand but not the public and that it’s more of a personal taunt versus a suicide note, which we have pretty much already determined. It’s possible Dina was there – Nina could have put on a black wig and gone to the hospital, she wouldn’t have to check in at the door, and as long as Jonah didn’t see her she could pass as Dina, but I don’t think Dina would have left Max’s side. And wasn’t Nina at the house earlier? Something about her knocking on the door, peering inside and according to her, she left – but if she truly wanted to get inside or confront Rebecca she could have easily gone around to the back of the house, and had a chat with Adam. To me the “S” in “She” wasn’t dipped in the black paint far enough – but the rest of the letters were so I don’t think the S was added later or an afterthought. Adam doesn’t strike me as a Riddler-type but one of those vicious women might have been.


    • It could be that the S was written first or last. You may recall the Ramsey Ransom Note also had a false start. The first one began: Mr and Mrs Ramsey. The paint on the wall reminds me of the sort of thing spurned ex-girlfriends do. Question is, is it that or made to look like that?


  2. It was made to look like that in the way in which Charles Manson would tell his followers to “leave something witchy.” But the S – was a false start in that there was not enough paint on the brush (imo). To say something purposely misleading would require a bit of complex thinking, something not sure Adam possessed but the accomplice may have had. So in that sense, the other person in the room may have tried to purposely mislead – but if so it’s an inside joke, and one no one would get. It certainly doesn’t sound like a suicide note so would the purpose be to point to murder? I don’t think they would want that. To me it’s an inside joke, like a dig, with some religious undertones but I’m open minded and will see where this leads.


  3. Putting some facts together about Nina Romano’s timeline and her return from the hospital to Dina’s house, the text she sent to Rebecca, her statement that she walked to the mansion but then left a passerby says he saw someone there at that particular time but it fit the description of Dina, not Nina – I’m having my doubts Nina was there unless she did show up at the mansion and stayed there. There could have been three individuals present but I am leaning toward Dina now, not Nina – then Adam took the fall. Participated, but took the fall. That may be why he thought he could pass a polygraph. He helped, but didn’t instigate.

    Original complaint here yield some interesting ideas

    Case 3:13-cv-01624-W-NLS filed 7/8/14

    As we know both Dina and Nina were dropped from the plaintiff’s suit

    It must have enraged Dina that Nina tried to “get answers” by texting Rebecca at 9:41 p.m. from Dina’s house -although Rebecca’s incoming phone records indicate text at 10:41) and got no answer. I suspect both sisters were very worked up after spending the day at Ronald McDonald hospital and seeing Max hooked up to life support, bruised and battered. Also the passerby said the woman fits exactly the description of Dina, and was carrying a black bag, which you can see clearly in the hospital footage. Those two sisters are darned lucky Grier dropped them from the wrongful death civil suit.


  4. I have a partial answer – he dropped Dina because of the security video footage – I’m assuming from the hospital.

    But – look at the time stamp on the two pictures you provided – 16:25 and 17:59. Was she leaving at 17:59? The neighbor heard “help me help me” at approx 11:40 p.m.

    What am I missing? And what about Nina? (thank you in advance)


    • You know your stuff. Yes it was the timestamp in the CCTV from the hospital that supposedly cleared her. I believe that evidence was only fielded years later, though. I believe the police have dismissed the “help me help me” heard by the neighbor. If they hadn’t, that alone would disprove suicide.


  5. What evidence did Grier use to exclude Nina Romano?
    I like attorney’s, especially when I agree with them, but I do know that they often fashion a story that they believe they can sell to a jury which might only be partially true and sounds good. If Grier originally believed Nina and Dina were there (sitting on Rebecca’s bed to weigh it down) then how can he go from that to a rebuffed sexual attack from an Ambien-addled Adam.


    • I spoke to him last year. If I remember correctly, he said something along the lines that he felt it would be difficult to prove in court. So he stuck with the case he felt he could prove.


  6. And that was wise. He strikes me as a very good attorney as well as kind. It’s really too bad the San Diego/Coronado police department are stubbornly sticking to their suicide story.


  7. Okay, back to nuts and bolts for a moment.

    Max Shacknai was injured July 11; he died July 16. Rebecca Zhau was found dead July 13.

    I got information from here:

    Now, Nina and Dina were *twins*, fraternal apparently. According to the pics I’ve found, their physiques were pretty much identical, but their faces, not so much:

    You can also see how much *taller* Dina is than Nina.

    Here is a diagram showing the heights of all 4 women – petite Rebecca Zhau, average Nina Romano, and amazon Dina Shacknai, who is apparently about 4″ *taller* than her twin:

    An additional copy is here:

    “I recognize Dina immediately in the second pic. She looks NOTHING like Nina so I don’t know how the police could discount the two witnesses’ statement that he saw Dina (and not Nina) at the Spreckels mansion the night of Becky’s murder.” – from

    And here’s Dina Shacknai with a friend, Kim Rivera: – from here:

    Kim Rivera would have been indistinguishable from Dina Shacknai in those surveillance camera photos. Note that I’m NOT saying that Kim Rivera was involved in any way, just that this is an example of how *similar* two people can look even when they are not related.

    “I have to say that the murderers who painted the words on the door did a good job of emulating the eye-level height that Becky might have painting at.”

    Good point ^

    However, painting at one’s eye level involves more stress on the body than painting in a more ergonomic place, like at chest level so the arm is not stressed by being lifted so high. By that criterion, the painter was Dina (rightmost silhouette in diagram above).


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  9. The serpent representation of the first letter gives the identity of the entity leaving the inscription.

    The she and he has that to do withe the soul of humanity and the mystery of the masculine and feminine.

    In short it is the taunt of Satan, as he orchestrates another taunting mystery of suicide. As he leaves the captives of rational, searching for that age old sign of reason to blame another entity. As he takes another in societies death sleep of the rational world, the sword of the spirit.

    God help any one around an unexplainable death in this day of REASON.

    Righteous was only used 14 times in the Old Testament, until the Protestant rewrite exchanged it for another word more than eight hundred times.

    I AM ANGRY WITH REASON UNTO DEATH, describes many as the quote from the book of Johnah.


  10. This definitely is a tough one…
    SHE SAVED HIM…..meaning, Rebecca saved Adam from being held accountable for her murder, because it appears to be a suicide. I obviously suspect Adam and believe he wiped down the scene, removing his prints. He could have forced Rebecca to leave her prints on the knife, or choked her to death first, and then placed her fingers on the knife leaving her prints behind…and only her prints, further reinforcing the suicide theory. Don’t know why she would be naked if it was a suicide. I’m sure they did a rape kit, right?
    CAN YOU SAVE HER…can the authorities/ detectives, or anyone, save her (legacy), by proving to the world that it WASN’T a suicide?
    I know this is WAY out there…and probably not even close to the real meaning of these words…but, it really is what popped into my head! 🤔


  11. The role of the sisters cannot be disregarded. Whether Adam S. came to Coronado with angry feelings or whether they were fueled by the overall general consensus that Rebecca had F’d up isn’t clear. Was his role to be that of emotional support to his brother or that of a fixer, to set things right. An equalizer. Once there did he perceive himself as a sort of hero? Or was it a heat of the moment thing and the sisters fanned the flames. “She saved him can you save her” is taunting, it’s unnecessary, it’s rubbing salt in the wound of the death of a young woman and one could say it’s very evil. It’s like the tail end of a gritty fiction murder story. But left on a door in paint It’s not even clever. No one leaves a suicide note like that – so I don’t think it was meant as a suicide note. I think it was a signature final taunt, in which the police interpreted fit in with their suicide theory.


  12. I think Rebecca had Max lie on bannister to take a photo (planking), she expected him to turn towards her and climb off the bannister, instead, he turned the other way and fell, she saw his face twisted in disbelief as he fell, heard the crash and her dog barked and ran to him……….her sister Xena was downstairs, she ran down, called 911, handed the phone to her sister while she staged putting the scooter and ball near him, then she killed herself two nights later as she THOUGHT Max would wake up and tell everyone what happened. If she knew Max would die and not turn her in, she may not have killed herself.


    • No, it would make sense for her to kill herself after he was dead, not before, if that was even part of her mindset. It clearly wasn’t.


  13. The “She Saved HIm” means Rebecca thought she had saved Max…………..can you save her? she’s referring to herself. it’s her suicide note on the wall……………..only her DNA was left at the scene, on the rope, the black paint on her hands, her footprints on the balcony. She felt guilty and was afraid Jonah would find out from his son Max when he awoke what Rebecca had done so she took herself out, in my opinion.


  14. To figure out the mystery you have to be smarter than the criminal. By all accounts Adam S. was smart – and clever. Adam S. wrote short stories. He was quite good at them according to Nina Romero, Dina Shacknai and the Zahau family attorney Keith Greer. The words painted on the door in black paint are the kind of words you might leave at the end of a mystery story, suggesting to a reader that there would be more to come or the closing words in a romantic fairy tale romp. The painted note on the door together with a staged crime scene has a double meaning for the reader – the police and the public. It could be a suicide note or an ending to one of Adam’s stories. As with all stories the reader must decide if the story is believable, if it’s entertaining enough for our senses (dulled by online overload and electronic devices), if it supports the narrative (the staged suicide) and if it packs a punch. It does.


  15. Could the ‘You” refer to God? One can imagine Rebecca pleading for her life. Trying to explain to her killer that she did everything she could to help Max until the ambulance arrived. The killer, taunting, sarcastic “Oh, so you’ SAVED’ him, bravo…” . Rebecca pleading with God to help her, to save her. The Killer, “Will God (he)’SAVE’ you like you ‘SAVED’ Max?” Seeing the paint, scrawling the note in a fury, in the moment. Asking,”Where is your God now?”


  16. I know this is a long shot,… but could it have said, “I saved him, can you save me” The S and the E in “She” look off, even the second vertical line in H is thinner than any other line. Which would also mean, the R was added in Her, afterwards. We’ll never know…


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