New details have emerged about the mysterious death of 32-year-old Rebecca Zahau, who was found hanged, bound and naked at a California millionaire's historic mansion.
On Friday investigators announced the case was closed and ruled her death a suicide, but Zahau's last cryptic message -- and information from the autopsy that had not been divulged during Friday's press conference -- have raised new doubts about the sheriff's conclusion.
The message painted in black on the door of the bedroom near where Zahau was found hanging said, "She saved him can you save her?"
In addition, the autopsy report revealed there were hemorrhages under Zahau's scalp, tape residue and blood on her legs, and the T-shirt that was wrapped around Zahau's neck had been partially stuffed in her mouth.
Zahau's family has hired Seattle lawyer Anne Bremner and are asking the police to reopen the case.
Bremner told ABCNews.com today the message scrawled in black paint is just one of the many reasons why Zahau's death warrants further investigation.
"The single most important thing is there has never been a reported suicide of a female like this. Bound hands and feet. Gagged. A noose around her neck. Naked. Blood down her legs. A shirt wrapped three times around her neck. Tied to a bed with neat slip knots and square knots," Bremner wrote in an email message to ABCNews.com.
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department was not immediately available for comment.
The body of Zahau was found on the grounds of the Spreckels Mansion in Coronado, Calif., July 13. When police arrived they found Zahau on the back lawn, her hands tied behind her back and her feet bound. Her body had been cut down by her boyfriend's brother, Adam Shacknai, who was staying at the home. He also allegedly removed the T-shirt from her mouth.
Zahau was the girlfriend of pharmaceutical mogul Jonah Shacknai. Her death came two days after Shacknai's 6-year-old son Max fell down the stairs at the historic Spreckels Mansion owned by Shacknai. The boy died of his injuries on July 16. Police ruled his death an accident.
During last week's news conference there was no mention of the tape residues, blood on Zahau's legs, or the piece of T-shirt found in her mouth.
"These deaths were not the result of any criminal acts," Gore said Friday.
Investigators showed a video explaining how Zahau could have bound her own hands and feet, and Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Lucas said Friday the long sleeve light cotton T-shirt wrapped around her neck was loose, and "not part of the asphyxia or neck pressure."
The sheriff's department questioned Zahau's mental state in the days and months preceding her death.
"There were indications [Zahau] had been unhappy for awhile," Gore said.
Zahau's family disagrees.
Zahau's family says the note painted on the bedroom door doesn't look like Zahau's handwriting, and they don't know what the message could have possibly meant.
"Nothing adds up," Mary Zahau-Loehner, Zahau's sister, told ABCNews.com.
Zahau-Loefner, a nurse practitioner who said she spoke to her sister almost every day, told ABCNews.com Zahau had no psychiatric history, and had never taken anti-depressants or attempted suicide.
"She was obviously distraught," Gore said Friday. "Remember she was the person who found Max."
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Bremner told ABCNews.com Zahau had not expressed guilt about Max's accident to her family.
Zahau was "very religious. She did believe if you commit suicide you go to hell," Bremner said. "The case is being prematurely closed."
Last Edited by on Sep 07, 2011 9:12 AM
Thank you for keeping on top of this Bonnie. Most certainly something wrong with the way this case is being handled by the police. No way would a woman commit suicide in the nude or tie a knot like that around her own neck. It is wildly preposterous. Somebody wants this case to go away...
Amazing how the police can say it was suicide - it is so obvious! Terrible story - but it confirms again that influental people can control and manipulate everything and everybody, almost. Thank you Bonnie for informing us about this story, I wouldn't have heard about it here in Germany, I guess... ---------- "...be alive, be free, feel consciousness, subsciousness, being GOD..." MJ
The link to the statement did not fully work. Sorry, should I not quite understand, Bonnie. Does this statement mean that the family does not further insist on reopening Rebecca´s murder case? Following this case it is in plain sight that it was murder and nothing else. Interesting the theories about a person with her hands bond in the back and feet also bond together and naked , thus climbing over the balcony and jump to hang oneself, all other details included. One must be more than one Houdini to manage that , just the other way round. Sorry for my sarcasm and may Rebecca and her family forgive me please but I am sure she and they know how I mean it and what I want to express when I say that perhaps she might have had such extraordinary abilities and had wanted to go to circus as an artist one day. DO THOSE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR HER MURDER REALLY THINK WE ARE SO STUPID AND BRAIN-WASHED THAT WE BUY WHAT THEY TRY TO SELL US? We have learned bitterly enough about Michael´s death being murder as well and we know enough about those manipulating kind of cover up stories Who with what has silenced the family now? Know that also "YOU" have to take your responsibility for your coldly-blooded intended deeds. Bonnie, I hope this will not cause you any difficulties because all that I post on your board I do in my own and full responsinility. Again I want to say that IN NO WAY I intended to offend Rebecca and her family. It is my statement and answer to "their" lies.
Thank you, Bonnie for making us aware of this shameful treating of a person´s valuable life simply taken away out of - I do not know which reasons cause there are NO reasons to take someone´s life and kill them - dark reasons. I wish Rebecca that her family will have the power one day and stand up again for justice for her.
IMHO, Thanks. Ute
Last Edited by on Sep 08, 2011 3:41 PM
I am not sensing that the family are giving up. Not exactly. However they now have a MAJOR hurdle to overcome. The obstacles are being put in place by BOTH Mr.Shacknai and the San Diego Police Dept. Mr. Shacknai is pressuring Rebecca's family lawyer to back down from pursuing this any further and getting the case re-opened. I find it perplexing that he accepts the suicide ruling knowing the details which have emerged.
The family IS NOT backing off. Just because Mr. Shacknai's attorney sent a cease and desist letter to the Zahau's attorney does not mean they are giving up. They want the truth about what happened to Rebecca. The family has every right to discuss Rebecca's case publicly and to seek outside investigators to get to the truth.
Why would Mr. Shacknai inquire whether Rebecca had any enemies when the message on the door, by all appearances, was meant for him? Was it a dinner or a party (according to some reports) they were having that evening? Sounds like an odd time to socialize and be cheerful when your small child is in critical condition in the hospital. Now, based on this latest article, the police department seems to have wanted this over and done with and swept away. And as such ignored the blatant inconsistencies which seem to be leaping out at everyone else BUT them. Interesting. Also wondering... Is this the newly hired publicist doing their job of smoothing out the rough edges here?
Mary Zahau Told ABC's Elizabeth Vargas That She Does Not Believe Sister Rebecca Committed Suicide At Spreckels Mansion
POSTED: 6:57 pm PDT September 19, 2011 UPDATED: 9:07 am PDT September 20, 2011
SAN DIEGO -- Breaking News: Judge To Unseal Search Warrants In Case
More people on Monday are questioning whether Rebecca Zahau really committed suicide at the Spreckels mansion in Coronado.
Among those who are raising questions are Rebecca Zahau's sister Mary Zahau and an author who is researching the case.
Rebecca Zahau's sister Mary Zahau told ABC's Elizabeth Vargas that she does not believe her sister took her own life.
Mary Zahau, like others, has questioned why someone would hang herself in the nude with her hands tied behind her back.
"It seemed like from the beginning, a lot of things were ignored," Vargas told Mary Zahau on Good Morning America. "So if you don't think your sister committed suicide, you're saying your sister was murdered."
"Yes," answered Mary Zahau.
She said she talked to Rebecca Zahau the night she died.
When asked if it was a normal conversation and if Rebecca Zahau sounded like herself, Mary Zahau answered, "Yes."
San Diego County Sheriff's investigators concluded Rebecca Zahau killed herself later that night after hearing that boyfriend Jonah Shacknai's son Max died from injuries suffered in a fall at the mansion. Rebecca Zahau was the only adult who was home at the time.
"It doesn't add up from day one," said Kathleen McKenna, who is writing a book on the case.
She told 10News she does not believe Rebecca Zahau committed suicide either.
"This case is so goofy," said McKenna. "There are so many things that don't add up."
McKenna said she had questions about blood, abrasions and more.
"How did the balcony doors get closed? How did the music get turned off? How did her clothes get down in the guest house?" asked McKenna.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore emphasized that Rebecca Zahau's death was a suicide.
"Science is our best witness in this case," he said during a press conference earlier this month. "Science is not biased and it does not lie."
But Mary Zahau said she thinks experts should take another look at the investigation and recreate the scene.
A sheriff's spokesperson told 10News on Monday that if new evidence came to light, they would reopen the investigation. The spokesperson said there has been no new evidence to date.
Jonah Shacknai has also asked the California attorney general to look further into the case. Click here to read his letter to Kamala Harris
Renowned Polygrapher: Jonah Shacknai's Brother Needs To Take Another Lie Detector Test
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Posted on Sep 21, 2011 @ 12:45PM By Jen Heger Radar Legal Editor
Adam Shacknai needs to be given another lie detector test in connection with the death case involving Rebecca Zahau, according to famed polygraph expert Jack Tramarco, RadarOnline.come is exclusively reporting.
Adam's billionaire brother Jonah Shacknai was dating Rebecca Zahau, who was found nude, and hanging from a balcony at the Medicis' CEO's mansion in Coronado, a wealthy suburb of San Diego. Cops contend that Rebecca killed herself.
Rebecca's family vehemently disagrees with the San Diego Sheriff's Department's conclusion that she committed suicide and are pushing for the investigation to be reopened.
Rebecca's naked body was found hanging from the balcony at her boyfriend's mansion just two days after his son, Max, 6, was found unconscious at the base of the stairs. Max later died from his injuries.
On July 15, 2011, Adam Shacknai was given a lie detector test. Search warrants that were unsealed by a San Diego judge reveal, that "Detective Lebitski and Detective Hillen facilitated a polygraph examination of Adam Shacknai with Polygrapher Paul Redden. Redden said based on the analysis of the polygraph charts he couldn't draw a conclusion, but felt Adam was being truthful during the examination."
Jack Trimarco -- an ex-FBI agent that ran the polygraph division for the bureau in Los Angeles and recently conducted the polygraph that proved that Giovanni Ramirez didn't beat San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium -- says another lie detector test needs to be given to Adam Shacknai.
"For someone with Paul Redden's credentials and reputation, to say that he wasn't able to draw a conclusion, but FELT Adam Shacknai was telling the truth, simply isn't acceptable. Polygraphers don't let emotions or gut feeling or observations to include body language, and verbalizations taint the results," Trimarco says.
Trimarco routinely works with law enforcement to conduct lie detector tests. Trimarco said he would be willing to conduct another polygraph test of Adam Shacknai, and any other witnesses in the investigation.
"If the test is inconclusive, as it was in this case, you state that you have no opinion, period, end of discussion. This means you run another test, with new questions. Polygraphers aren't trained to judge people's feelings, it's just not something we do, or have the capability of doing. Adam Shacknai needs to be given another polygraph test," Trimarco says.
Last Edited by on Sep 22, 2011 7:46 AM
Thank you for your effort in the painstaking task of keeping track of this story and its gory details. It is amazing what is happening here. Creepy is an understatement. It is mind-boggling seeing the level of complacency here on the part of the police who deemed this suicide. I do not want to call it cover-up just yet. But it sure has all the markings of one. No way can a woman do this to herself. By the time you are done with all of the knots and preparations, which you would have had to have been a navy seal to have accomplished all that, you are likely to get tired and give up. A man could possibly not be able to accomplish the feat of tossing yourself over the balcony all tied up this way. How could a woman? This sort of methodical preparation takes planning. It is blatantly obvious that this was not done by the victim herself.
Is there someone left in law enforcement who would be willing to step forward and help this family?
Last Edited by on Sep 26, 2011 7:39 PM
I also wanted to thank you for this thread topic, Bonnie, and for your passionate, intense and Spirit Advocate efforts to get the truth out on what really happened to this woman and the little boy. I have not read all the posts yet, but I read quite a few a couple of nights ago and was becoming glued to my monitor. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I'll keep my speculations to myself for now. I just wanted to publicly thank you for focusing on this tragedy without letting up or letting go.
This effort and compassion on your part should clearly demonstrate to some people out there who have questioned your motives in the past that you really do take your work seriously, and that not all of it involves Michael Jackson or celebrities. This woman was not famous, and neither was her child. There is no financial gain that I can see for you in fighting for the truth to come out in this matter.
Sheriffs: Zahau's attorney's claims are irrelevant
SAN DIEGO, Oct 01, 2011 (KSWB-TV - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Deputies will not re-examine Rebecca Zahau's cell phone records and called recent claims of 'ear-witnesses' hearing her cry for help the night she died in a Coronado mansion irrelevant, investigators said.
Zahau, 32, was found naked, bound and hanging from a balcony inside the Spreckels Mansion on July 13. Detectives determined she committed suicide after being grief-stricken over the impending death of her boyfriend's son, Max Shacknai.
The Zahau family has maintained a consistent call for the case to be reopened. In response, the department announced it would try to forensically examine Zahau's cell phone, since the family disputes claims she received a voice mail that led to her death.
But late last week, Lt. Larry Nesbit from the San Diego Sheriff's Department told Fox 5 News the technology he thought would help did not work.
Lt. Nesbit said the only way Zahau's phone could be examined would be to dismantle it, and the department deemed that was unnecessary, adding there's "nothing on the phone central to the evidence. We don't have any unanswered questions." Lt. Nesbit also responded to reports from Anne Bremner there were two witnesses who heard Zahau scream for help the night she died.
Nesbit said those people were interviewed, but concluded "we don't think it's relevant." The main reason, Nesbit said, was a group of teens were outside when the cry was heard. Those witnesses told detectives they couldn't decipher if the scream was from the Spreckels Mansion or those teenagers.
Bremner said Saturday she expects to get police records soon. Afterwards, she plans to ask the Attorney General to investigate the case.
The Attorney General already denied a similar request from Zahau's former boyfriend, Arizona pharmaceutical CEO Jonah Shacknai.
___ (c)2011 KSWB-TV (San Diego) Visit KSWB-TV (San Diego) at www.fox5sandiego.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
Last Edited by on Oct 03, 2011 7:37 AM
Rebecca Zahau's Family Still Hasn't Received Evidence About Her Death From Cops
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Posted on Oct 03, 2011 @ 02:45AM By Jen Heger Radar Legal Editor
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department still hasn't turned evidence in the Rebecca Zahau death case over to her grieving family, RadarOnline.com is exclusively reporting.
Zahau's tragic death was ruled a suicide after her nude body was found hanging from the outside of her multimillionaire boyfriend Jonah Shacknai's mansion in Coronado, California.
Rebecca's death occurred two days after Jonah's six-year-old son, Max, was discovered unconscious at the base of the stairs of the historic Spreckles Mansion they all shared. Max subsequently died from his injuries, and his death was ruled an accident.
Rebecca's family refuses to believe that she killed herself, and has hired Seattle-based attorney Anne Bremner to pursue having the case reopened.
Rebecca's sister Mary Zahau tells RadarOnline.com, "The Sheriff's Department is not answering our calls or emails. But California gives victims rights to the case file, including the police report. There is also property of Rebecca's that was taken."
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Adam Shacknai, Jonah's brother, and the only person home at the time he discovered Rebecca's body, was given a lie detector test.
Bill Redden, the polygraph examiner who administered the test told us, "The test results from the polygraph that I gave Adam Shacknai were inconclusive, therefore, I wasn't able to form an analysis from the results of the polygraph test. Adam did not necessarily pass or fail the test. Whenever I deal with an inconclusive result, I always recommend a follow-up test. I have never been asked to do a follow-up test for Adam Shacknai."
The Zahau family wants to conduct their own independent investigation into the mysterious death, but can't do so until the San Diego County Sheriff's Department cooperates. "We can't do anything to investigate until we get those. I am so upset and heartbroken that my sister died."
NBC's morning program airs segment on family members and investigators who discuss the dispute over whether Zahau, 32, hung herself in July.
By Jennifer Vigil September 30, 2011
NBC's morning Today show gave an overview of the Spreckels mansion death case Friday, including interviews with Rebecca Zahau's family and one of the investigators who determined her death was a suicide.
Mary Zahau-Loehner, Zahau's sister, appeared with her husband, Doug, and attorney Anne Bremner, to take questions from co-host Ann Curry about the family's desire for a new probe into how Zahau died July 13.
Detectives determined that Zahau, 32, who was found nude and bound, hung herself from a second-floor balcony at the oceanfront mansion.
The family contends that other evidence, including witnesses who may have heard cries for help, bruises and abrasions suffered by Zahau, tape marks and blood on her body, and the way blood had pooled in her remains, show that she died by another's hand.
The 9-minute segment included a taped portion featuring Sgt. Dave Nemeth of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Nemeth said what the alleged witnesses may have heard “was unrelated to what happened in the mansion.”
A forensic expert interviewed by the network also said Zahau's other injuries can't be assumed to be due to a struggle, as the family argues.
“I truly believe her suicide was staged,” Zahau-Loehner said.
Bremner is seeking a new investigation, but has yet to make a formal request of the state. Zahau's boyfriend, Spreckels homeowner Jonah Shacknai, had asked the state for a review of the case and was denied.
Last Edited by on Oct 05, 2011 8:45 AM
Yes I was Irina. I sent everything to Ms. Bremner and Rebecca's ex-husband. I let her know that Dr. Arnold Klein knew and was reporting having a bad business experience with Jonah Shacknai. So far at least 4 impressions I received have been validated by recent news. I don't know if Ms.Bremner connected this to Michael's case for some other reason, but the information I sent to her would lead her in that direction.
Last Edited by on Oct 06, 2011 6:37 AM
thank you also here for your valuable assistance that you have provided to Rebecca and her family as well as keeping us posted. I wish them to finally come to the results needed and then to peace once the truth is out.
Best wishes to all - Ute -
Last Edited by on Oct 26, 2011 6:47 PM
Thank you for all of the latest updates Bonnie. So glad to see that Rebecca's story is still getting attention and that an expert is concerned enough to volunteer his time to search for the answers. From everything that has gone on so far with regards to this case, one can see that the victim and the family have been treated with callous disregard here. And I hope the family gets the answers they are seeking and the true details of what happened to Rebecca come to light.
Interesting that News 8 tested the bed. I had the bed question popping into my mind quite a bit as I was reading about the conclusions reached by the sheriffs department. The metal bed looked too light to my eye for it to remain virtually in its original place after such a forceful tug.
Very curious to see the results of the second autopsy. I hope the picture of what really happened to Rebecca will be clearer.
And as always thank you!!! for being the voice for those who are not on this side of the veil Bonnie.
San Diego sheriff responds to "Dr. Phil" investigation
SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The family of Rebecca Zahau told Dr. Phil this week that they don't trust the sheriff's department. They believe there was a rush to judgment in the investigation that ruled her death a suicide.
In this News 8 video report, Phil Blauer speaks to Sheriff Bill Gore.
Last Edited by on Nov 16, 2011 8:02 PM
Borrowing quote from above article: "You know, it's very surprising to us and disappointing at the same time," said Rudoy. "Nobody is curious about what happened to Rebecca, and that in itself is curious."
This is just about the gist of it as far as local authorities appear. I think it speaks on many levels.
Attorney Anne Bremner And Rebecca Zahau’s Family Vow To Fight For Justice In 2012,Highlight Hollywood Exclusive
January 02, 2012 Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
It was suggested recently that Highlight Hollywood should to stop writing about the Rebecca Zahau case, and yet, we will pursue justice and will not cease writing about the family’s pain and suffering, and that of her parents, who remain so utterly devastated that they cannot seem to get authorities to care enough about the case, to reopen it and reexamine the evidence, they believe will help clear Zahua’s name. A dignified family, the Zahaus may not be wealthy, but they are wise, and they believe in justice, and in the American way. I spoke with Rebecca’s sister Mary Loehner today from her home, where her parents live now, and are too distraught to speak directly with us, but Mrs. Zahau did ask us to please not let anyone forget her daughter. Mr. Zahau was far too emotional to even speak at all.
Fighting back tears and the emotional pain of losing her sister, I spoke with Mary Zahau Loehner, who tells Highlight Hollywood, “We still miss Becky so much. Christmas was difficult this year. We had to smile as much as possible in order to get the kids and my new baby girl through the holidays, but the visit on Christmas eve to Becky’s grave was devastating. My mother fell onto my sister’s grave and cried, and begged her to please come back to her. This tragedy has been too much for them. My parents are very strong people, but this is absolutely the worst thing they could ever have to endure. Not only did they lose a child, which is not natural to a parent, but also they feel under siege and attack by the authorities, who instead of reopening the death investigation, they blame our family and attack us, maybe because my parents are uneducated and poor. But they are wonderful people, Tommy. They don’t deserve this, Becky did not deserve what was done to her. It was not a suicide. Becky would never kill herself, and leave her nude body to be found, and disgrace her family. No one can show any evidence of her being that depressed. Yes, she cared for Max, she loved him. I find it amazing that she cared for him for a year, but now she’s being blamed by some for his death. I can’t understand why we are under attack.”
Loehner is not going to give up. She remains very steadfast in her belief that her sister’s memory will be restored, and her good name returned, as it should be, in her opinion. However, the devastation that hovers over this family would cry anyone of less faith. But the family unit remains strong. Rebecca Zahau’s brother-in-law Doug Loehner tells Highlight Hollywood. “We are in the mode of asking for donations for the legal fund. Our attorneys are working very hard to do their jobs, and they are very diligent, however, we do need the public’s help, and anyone that is willing to help, we appreciate it. If you cannot help financially, your prayers for the family will help a great deal. We are sustained by them. And it’s been a very difficult few months, but we have read the case files, and I have a law enforcement background, and can say without any prejudice, this was not a suicide, and a thorough investigation would prove it,” said Doug Loehner.
For those interested in helping the family with legal matter, please go to the official website set up for the legal fund at http://www.rebeccazahaufund.com/.
On Saturday I spoke with one of the attorneys for the family, the prominent Washington State based lawyer Anne Bremner about this case. “Tommy, I hope and pray, an independent investigation and justice for Rebecca Zahau and for her family,” said Bremner. “The case of Rebecca Zahau has been so frustrating. She clearly did not kill herself. It pains me each and every day to see her family struggle with the injustice of a “suicide” finding. How could the authorities call this a suicide when she was bound, gagged and naked and hanging off a balcony where she had no signs nor a history of depression nor of suicidal ideation? And, the authorities said Max (who fell a day prior) had taken a “turn for the worse” and disclosure of this caused her to kill herself –can’t back up this claim at all when in fact Max tragically had “turned for the worse” immediately upon his fall. The authorities have ignored blunt force trauma to her head, lucidity in her back (which shows she died on her back and not from hanging) evidence of screams for help from her and from the mansion, evidence of someone outside and trying to get into the mansion at the time of her death, strange Internet activity on her computer and not from her regarding bondage and Asian porn ….and no true suspects were fully investigated…not to mention the mixed DNA and blood and hair evidence that was never analyzed. Even a pair of women’s underwear in the garbage was never analyzed!”
Bremner and her co-attorneys have been able to do some research and investigation on the case themselves, along with famed and seasoned professionals in the criminal investigative field. But they cannot officially make decisions to reopen the case, and the lobbying by Bremner has been met with abrupt accusations by San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. officials, who lash out and make statements in the media, that they will release further information and details on the case. Mary Loehner, Zahau’s sister is stunned by the behavior. “They fight us, they try to take out their frustration on our family. Our loved one is dead. And yet we are attacked as a family. This is not the American justice system we love. We respect the law enforcement system in this country, we just feel as though we’ve been forgotten and discarded because Becky was not rich and famous. No one should be treated the way she has been in death,” said Zahau. When I explained how I received a very nasty email after writing about the case some weeks ago stating that Rebecca Zahau was in part not willing to try to save Max (Shacknai’s) life, Mary broke down into tears. “Oh my gosh, you mean someone actually said that about Becky, Tommy? She loved Max, she was devastated when he died, but devastated, not suicidal. It just amazes me how mean some people can be,” concluded Mary Zahau Loehner.
Famed attorney Anne Bremner is not about to give up. “The uniform opinions from criminologists, forensics experts, and forensic psychiatrists – all renowned and accomplished, confirm that this was no suicide. We haven’t made much headway with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. or the Attorney General, but we ascribe to Winston Churchill’s motto, ‘never, never, never, never quit.’”
Thank you for the latest update, Bonnie. Not surprised the family's investigators are not being let into the property. If they were to find missed evidence showing this was murder, imagine how embarrassing it would be for the town police department who declared this a suicide.
Very curious to know what the family's lawyers have uncovered.
It certainly could, especially since the intent is to cover up and change the areas where these events took place. The family's attorneys did not get access to house so any hope of obtaining any additional hard evidence is now lost. I have offered my assistance and they do have my impressions on file.
CORONADO, Calif. -- Developers are proposing major changes for a landmark Coronado home linked to tragedy.
The investment group that owns the Spreckles Mansion has proposed a restoration project on its original 1907 design.
The oceanfront mansion made national headlines after Rebecca Zahou, girlfriend of millionaire Jonah Shacknai, was found hanging naked from a balcony at the oceanfront property last summer. Investigators ruled her death a suicide.
“It’d be nice to change the conversation, less sensationalism about the recent tragedies and more about what the house represents as far as a significant piece of architecture here in Coronado and a significant property in itself,” real estate broker Scott Aurich said.
Aurich is working with the firm that is selling the remodeled home. The group would like to replace the slanted tile roof with a flat roof for a sun deck.
The finished design would resemble the Glorietta Bay Inn, architect Harrison Albright’s famous design.
“It’s a significant historical asset. It was built by John Spreckles, the guy who basically built the [Coronado] Island,” Aurich said. “Taking it back to that original architectural style preserves the integrity and the rich history of the house.”
It may be easier said than done. The sight is protected under the Mills Act, which means the city’s Historic Resource Commission has to approve any changes to the exterior. It took the previous owner years to get approval for adding awnings to the windows and French doors to the living and dining rooms.
The plan will come up for discussion during a hearing March 7.
Dina Shacknai sues county for son's autopsy photos
By John Langeler Fox 5 San Diego Reporter 8:57 a.m. PDT, April 3, 2012
SAN DIEGO -- The mother of a 6-year-old boy who fell to his death inside the Coronado Spreckels Mansion last July has sued the county for his autopsy photos.
Dina Shacknai, whose son Max fell over a railing July 11 and later died, filed the lawsuit March 22.
His father, Arizona pharmaceutical CEO Jonah Shacknai, was not home at the time. Shacknai's girlfriend, 32-year-old Rebecca Zahau, was home with her 13-year-old sister.
Dina and Jonah Shacknai are divorced, but both were at their son's bedside after the accident.
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Days after Max Shacknai's fatal fall, Zahau was found hanging naked from a balcony inside the mansion. San Diego County investigators concluded it was a suicide, reporting Zahau was grief-stricken over young Max's death. Zahau's family maintains something criminal happened.
Court documents allege Dina Shacknai first asked the county for her son's autopsy pictures March 16, but was denied by state law that requires a court order before releasing such information.
San Diego Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Glenn Wagner could not comment on the Shacknai case specifically, but said lawsuits like this are a means to getting a court order.
Dina Shacknai's attorney's declined to comment on the reason for requesting the autopsy pictures. She is represented by a law firm out of Phoenix.
San Diego civil attorney Dan Gilleon, who has filed similar litigation, said Tuesday the action likely means a wrongful death lawsuit is in the works.
"What's unusual about this suit is they have not alleged any wrongdoing on anyone's part," Gilleon said. "They have filed this solely for those records. That suggests to me they're trying to get their case in order before they file it."
Anne Bremner, attorney for the Zahau family, said Tuesday she was unaware of the lawsuit. She is asking the San Diego District Attorney to "look at the case anew" and has submitted information with the Attorney General's office.
Thank you for the latest updates Bonnie. Looks like the families of both victims are now questioning the findings of the investigations into each of those cases. It sure seems the local authorities are trying to keep a tight lid on all of this ...
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (CBS 8) - The mother of a six-year-old boy who died at the Spreckels Mansion on Coronado last year is requesting authorities reopen the investigation into his death.
On Monday, Dina Shacknai presented the Coronado Police Department with results of an independent investigation that refutes authorities' conclusion that her son Max died after falling from a second-floor staircase on July 11, 2011.
At the time of the accident, Max Shacknai was under the care of his father's girlfriend Rebecca Zahau. Zahau died July 13, 2011 at the Spreckels Mansion. Investigators have classified Zahau's death as a suicide.
According to the independent experts, Max Shacknai's death should have been classified a homicide.
In her first sit-down interview after the report was released, Dina Shacknai said the findings of the investigation into her son's death "didn't make sense. It didn't add up."
Shacknai says, "I know they had done such a thorough job that when I read the findings I was devastated to learn that Maxie was the victim of a homicide - an assault and a homicide."
"I was surprised that my 6-year-old, that anyone would hurt Maxie. He was a gentle, sweet, loving child, and I couldn't imagine someone assaulting him. And that he was the victim of... someone killed him."
The Coronado Police Department is reviewing the recently completed independent report, a representative of the department confirmed.
Shacknai released a statement saying, "Even though nothing will bring my only child Maxie back, I owe it to him, as his mother, to make sure the true facts of his death are known. It's important that his story be told, because this could happen to anyone's child."
Quoting the above article:" 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."
I am wondering why she would think Rebecca is involved. This is a rather unusual twist considering how Rebecca died. The whole scenario is very odd.
From the sounds of the results of the private investigation into Max's death, it appears that he may have run into someone who did not want his presece at the house found out. The thought of this little boy being victimized is terrifying and very disturbing. How can someone do that to a child.
Last Edited by on Aug 11, 2012 2:35 AM
By Dr. Drew staff updated 10:50 PM EDT, Mon August 13, 2012
NEED TO KNOW Independently hired medical experts review case, release opinions
‘We believe this is an assault scenario leading to his death,’ Dina Shacknai’s lawyer says
Was 6-year-old Max Shacknai, the son of prominent pharmaceutical executive Jonah Shacknai, assaulted before plunging to his death over a staircase balcony inside his father's San Diego mansion last year?