San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore sent a letter to Rebecca Zahau's family attorney, saying he would release Zahau's investigative file to the public if the family didn't keep the investigation quiet.
Zahau was found hanging, bound and nude from the balcony of her boyfriend's Cornado mansion in July. In September, the Sheriff's Department ruled the death a suicide.
On Oct. 27, Gore sent the two-page letter sent to Anne Bremner, the attorney for Rebecca Zahau's family in response to Bremner's request for Zahau's death investigation files.
In it, Gore tells Bremener the files will not be released to the public, media or anyone else, unless law enforcement finds necessity to do so.
The files include witness statements, 911 calls and personal information about Zahau.
Attorney Michele Hagan, who is not associated with the case, says she believes the sheriff's letter can be taken as a threat.
"Here we have the police department saying here's the file to the victim’s family but saying you can't talk about it basically,” Hagan said. “That's what they're saying to the victim's family, don't disclose it, it's confidential.”
The letter emphasizes the Sheriff's intention to keep the files private unless, "it becomes clear parts of the investigation have been released to the media and to the public "piecemeal."
He said if portions of the investigation are released in a way that falsely represents the work performed by the Sheriff’s Department, they will correct the false portrayal by opening the entire investigation for public scrutiny.