11 Sep 2012
No new Shacknai probe; mom wants Zahau files
7:53 p.m., Sept. 10, 2012
CORONADO — Coronado police have rejected a request by the mother of Max Shacknai to reopen the investigation into the death of her son last year at the Spreckels mansion, representatives for Dina Shacknai said Monday.
Shacknai and her representatives met on July 26 with Coronado police and staff from the county Medical Examiner’s Office to make the request. They presented independent evidence indicating the 6-year-old boy's death was a homicide rather than accident.
Max's father, Jonah Shacknai, owned the mansion. Max was in the care of his father’s girlfriend, 32-year-old Rebecca Zahau, on July 11, 2011, when police say the boy fell over a second-floor banister.
Dina Shacknai’s representatives released a copy of a letter dated Aug. 30 from Coronado Police Chief Louis Scanlon and Dr. Glenn Wagner, the county’s chief medical examiner. The two-paragraph letter said their staffs reviewed the independent information and concluded the medical examiner’s finding that Max’s death was an accident “remains unchanged.”
Investigators previously said Max may have been running and tripped. One of the independent experts hired by Dina Shacknai proposed a scenario in which Max was assaulted.
Two days after the fall, Zahau’s nude body was found hanging outside the mansion from a second-story balcony. Authorities concluded Zahau committed suicide.
In a five-page letter dated today to Scanlon, Dina Shacknai criticized the decision not to reopen the case. She also requested the “entire investigatory file” on Zahau’s death.
“While Jonah Shacknai received Rebecca’s file, I have been given no access to that information even though I am Maxie’s mother,” she said.
Coronado police could not immediately be reached for comment tonight.