SAN DIEGO -- The Coronado Police Department will not be reopening their investigation into the death of a young boy at the Spreckels Mansion last year.
According to a press release issued Monday, Coronado police declined to reopen their probe into the July 2011 death of 6-year-old Max Shacknai despite an independent investigation that contradicted the conclusion that the boy's death was an accident.
"In light of the evidence we provided, it is shocking that the Coronado Police Department has refused to reopen the case," Dina Shacknai said in the release. "As a mother, I will leave no stone unturned and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to pursue justice and find the truth behind my son's death, however long that may take. We presented scientific evidence and legitimate science does not lie. It is more than disappointing that despite the depth and detail of the evidence we presented, the system has failed us and it has failed Max. I just hope we can make a meaningful difference in many other children's lives through our experience and through the recent creation of Maxie's H.O.U.S.E."
*To read the complete press release,click here
In a letter sent to Coronado Police Chief Lou Scanlon on Monday, Shacknai stated the decision not to re-open her son Max's case "...has left us not only disappointed but incredulous. Your decision is an insult to common sense and decency."
On Monday, Shacknai spoke with 10News on the phone from near her home in Arizona.
"Right now, I think that it's the responsibility of the Coronado Police Department to reopen this investigation," she said.
In the letter, Shacknai also accused the department of ignoring and dismissing the comprehensive scientific analysis done by two well-respected independent experts she hired.
She wrote, "They reached irrefutable scientific conclusions after a nine-month process. In fact, as a mother, their conclusions were the worst possible outcome that I could have imagined."
"That Max was the victim of an assault scenario… that basically his death was a homicide, which is death at the hands of another," she said.
The letter sent by Shacknai was in response to one sent by Scanlon to Shacknai's attorney about two weeks ago, which stated, "…members of the Coronado Police Department and staff of the San Diego County Medical Examiner have reviewed the opinions expressed in the documents authored by the individuals retained by your client, Dr. Dina Shacknai. As a result of the review, the findings of the county Medical Examiner that the manner of death of Maxfield Shacknai was an "accident" remains unchanged."
"This has been the toughest thing but I am absolutely determined," she told 10News. "I will leave no stone unturned to find what happened to Max and I don't care how long it takes."
Last month, Dina Shacknai and her attorneys met with Coronado police in an effort to have her son's case reopened and investigated as a homicide.
Shacknai hired a team of experts to conduct a private investigation into Max's death after a fall over a banister inside his father's Coronado mansion last summer.
Findings of a certified forensic pathologist and an expert in injury biomechanics indicated Max was assaulted before going over a second-floor railing.
They determined that the railing was six inches above the standing center of gravity for someone of Max's height. Therefore, a fall over the railing was not possible.
Shacknai also released photos of Max in the hospital before he died to show just how horrific his injuries were.
"That's important because not very many people saw Max in the hospital room," she said.
Other findings include injuries to Max's face and forehead that experts determined were consistent with the forces of an assault.
Max's hands also showed no signs of abrasions from reportedly grasping the chandelier.
They determined that his back contacted the railing and moved up and over the railing as a result of an assault before he landed on the first floor below.
Max died from his injuries five days later in the hospital.
Marty Rudoy, the attorney for Rebecca Zahau's family, told 10News in a previous interview that there was no evidence to show there was an assault.
"I don't believe there is any evidence as to why he fell and the absence of such evidence doesn't necessarily mean there was an assault," Rudoy said.
Just as Shacknai wants her son's case to be reopened, Rudoy wants the San Diego County Sheriff's Department to reopen Zahau's case.
Zahau, the girlfriend of Max's father Jonah Shacknai, was inside the mansion with Max at the time of his injuries along with her 13-year-old sister.
Though Zahau was not named as a suspect in Max's death, Dina Shacknai has made it clear that she believes Zahau was involved. She said Zahau was not to be left with Max if his father was not home.
Days later, Zahau was found dead, hanging from an outside balcony of the mansion. Her death was ruled a suicide, but the Zahau family is challenging that ruling.
"Had nothing happened to Max, we don't believe anything would have happened to Rebecca," said Rudoy.