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I know how those things work. They just accomplish the mission, nobody sees them, and then they’re gone. That’s the main thing, is no witnesses. It’s done in under two minutes. It’s called “force of action.” Compress the most violence into the smallest time. Accomplish it with explosive force. Smash through the windows, out the door.... They could have broken her neck before they threw her off. It’s easy to break a person’s neck. It only takes about 14 pounds of pressure.

* * *

CHARLIE S., who collects cans and bottles around Coronado every day.

I collected bottles two doors away from the Spreckels house that morning. Nothing unusual. No cries, no people rushing around.

* * *

PETE, an artist.

Where was she from, Burma? Could someone in Burma have disapproved of her lifestyle? Getting tied up with this lifestyle here and moving in with a foreigner, an American...that’s a possibility. They could have sent people over to...uh, express that disapproval in dramatic fashion.

* * *

ALEX: But this guy [Shacknai] has the right idea. Put up a wall of lawyers between him and his tormentors. I have a lawyer friend, ex–Special Forces. And on his [business] card, he has: “Nobody talks, everyone walks.” Truer words were never spoken.

* * *

TOM, an accountant.

What I heard was that there were two women, one of them naked and bound up. And it was another female who made the 911 call. And when the paramedics arrived, she also was half naked. That’s what the police said, according to a friend of mine. She emailed me the day it happened and said that 911 had been called, and when they arrived, the naked girl was still alive, and the person who made the call was also Asian. So, two Asian females.

I’m not surprised. If the boyfriend is an alpha type — I deal with alpha-type businessmen at tax time — they’re domineering, they’re pushy. They surround themselves with people who do things for them, and they’re used to getting their way. People wait on him hand and foot, and naturally that sort of trait would carry over to the bedroom. Luckily, most of us just can’t perform to that level.

So, with these people, if you take away the constraints, you take away the social norms, some people think they can get away with, well, murder. These guys take chances. I call it the fighter-pilot mentality, the swashbuckler. The Navy SEALs push things to the extreme, too. They also do it with their spouses. The same sort of thing that makes them thrive in Afghanistan, surrounded by 100 Taliban, is the same mentality they use to deal with their spouse. They don’t recognize the same social controls as you and me.

I don’t have a clue what happened in this case, but I’m guessing they were playing a [sex] game and it got out of hand.

* * *

CAROLINE, longtime resident, sitting in a booth at Clayton’s Coffee Shop.

I used to come over to the Spreckels house when I was 20, 21. I remember my friend’s mother had a huge collection of snuff bottles. It was a very formal house. Everything had to be just so. There were butlers, cooks. You couldn’t imagine anything unplanned, untraditional ever happening there. I thought it was so-o stuffy. Now, I wonder if that wasn’t a good thing.

* * *

Spreckels mansion: the site of two mysterious deaths.

Spreckels mansion: the site of two mysterious deaths.

The lawn in front of Spreckels mansion shines luminous green in the setting sun.

“People come and leave flowers and messages,” says the Elite Security lady, who’s keeping looky-loos at bay. Right now, in the early evening, she’s rearranging the flowers in the pot that someone has set up on the front lawn facing the Pacific Ocean. “It’s a tragedy, all right,” she says.

One little bunch of flowers had no name, but it was clearly addressed to Rebecca.

“It is the way you listened, the way you comforted, the way you related to my every heartache, my every victory, even my losses, you were a true friend.” ■

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Comments

x76 July 27, 2011 @ 3:55 p.m.

Does anyone not think that the Coronado PD are handling this is a kind of... JonBenet Ramsey type of way?

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Visduh July 27, 2011 @ 8:51 p.m.

The Coronado PD immediately called in the SD County Sheriff to handle this. CPD has no homicide investigators. So, the question is whether the Sheriff can botch this case, ala JonBenet Ramsey. The answer is yes they can. Thirty years ago or so, the SD Sheriff's Dept was woefully weak on basic police tactics and they made a total mess of a number of murder investigations. More recently they have done better. But when the cop in charge of the investigation says he's treating the kid's injury (at the time) and the hanging as unconnected issues, it worries me greatly. Of course they are connected! The hanging followed directly from the kid's injury! So, coppers, figure out the connection and you will have solved the case. This woman did not lynch herself from that balcony. No way! She was murdered. Where is Columbo when you need him?

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Javajoe25 July 28, 2011 @ 11:02 a.m.

It's not a fable. There are two dead bodies to prove it.

I will not be surprised if little is said or done with this. This is a crime that occurred in "rich people's land," and things operate differently there: time moves slower for the rich; police are less inquisitive with the rich; and in rich people's land, evidence disappears like magic, and bodies dissolve into the ether. Pretty soon, you ask "What ever happened with those people that died in Coronado?" and the answer you get is "What people? What death?"

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Visduh July 28, 2011 @ 3:46 p.m.

It is an observable fact that crimes affecting the very poor and dispossessed get little attention and end up "unsolved." Seems you are saying that way up at the other end of the income/net worth spectrum much the same things happen. If you could produce a few examples of that from recent years it would go far to convince me. I do remember that a member of the local Fletcher clan (of Home Federal Savings fame), an almost lifelong alcoholic, shotgunned a couple of his friends to death in his home in Borrego Springs and was convicted of murder and sent up for life. So, his wealth and connections didn't get him off or declared insane or incompetent.

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