Rebecca Zahau's Family Wants State to Investigate Coronado Mansion Death

Rebecca Zahau’s family believes they have not been given all the information and want an independent investigation from the State Attorney General’s office

By R. Stickney
|  Friday, Sep 30, 2011  |  Updated 9:23 AM PDT
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Documents Reveal New Mansion Death Details

Rebecca Zahau, girlfriend of Jonah Shacknai, seen with her family before her hanging at a Coronado Mansion

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Attorney Doubts Zahau Killed Herself

An attorney is looking at new evidence that could prove that Rebecca Zahau did not kill herself.
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The family of Rebecca Zahau wants to see the police reports as part of an independent investigation into the

controversial hanging at Coronado’s Spreckels Mansion.

“We believe Rebecca was killed. We owe it to her to find what really happened to her,” said her sister Mary Zahau-Loehner.

San Diego Sheriff’s Department homicide investigators concluded Rebecca Zahau, 32, killed herself July 13 - two days after boyfriend Jonah Shacknai's 6-year-old son, Max Shacknai, accidentally fell while under her watch.

A multi-millionaire, Jonah Shacknai is the founder and CEO of Medicis, a pharmaceutical company based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Max Shacknai died July 17, almost a week after suffering serious injuries in a fall down the stairs at the historic mansion.

Rebecca Zahau’s sister appeared in an interview on NBC Today Friday explaining why the family wants an independent investigation.

“I truly believe the suicide was staged. I truly believe someone made it look like my sister committed suicide,” Zahau-Loehner said.

She and other family members texted with Zahau throughout the day and received messages of hope hours before her sister was discovered hanging nude from the mansion's second story balcony.

Investigators concluded that Rebecca Zahau tied rope to bedposts and around her wrists and ankles, she loosely bound her wrists, took one arm out and put both arms behind her back before tightening the noose. They even released a video that they say shows how it can be done.

“They’re telling me that my sister came up with this elaborate plan in a two-hour window without telling anyone without any history of psychiatric problems without any history of psychiatric medications or any previous attempts for suicide,” Zahau-Loehner said.

Zahau’s brother-in-law and Mary’s husband Doug Loehner, who is a police officer, wants a copy of the police reports.

“The case is closed,” he said. “I don’t understand why we don’t have them. “

Zahau’s family believes they have not been given all the information and want an independent investigation from the State Attorney General’s office which they say is different than a review.

When Jonah Shacknai requested a review from the State Attorney General, he didn’t allege there was a problem with the original investigation so the AG’s office won’t review it under the law said the family’s attorney Anne Bremner.

“They told us about their suicide conclusion by the time we got to San Diego which was the second day we got there. They had already made up their mind it was a suicide without any other information without any other investigation,” Mary Zahau-Loehner she said.

Bremner cited many questions about the case from pathologists saying Zahau died on her back and that Zahau had blunt force trauma to the head which she believes is inconsistent with a hanging.

“This would take like a Cirque de Soleil contortionist artist to die this way, hands, feet bound, gagged, roped to a bed with expert types of seaman’s knots,” said Bremner.

A Timeline of Events in the Deaths at Coronado's Spreckels Mansion

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