Sheriff’s Department Will Review Rebecca Zahau Case
Monday, April 16, 2018
Credit: Associated Press
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department released a statement Monday saying that the department will reevaluate the Rebecca Zahau case.
The department said that new analysis of existing evidence presented in a recent civil trial prompted the department to undertake a new review. Previously, the department said they were willing to reevaluate the case if new evidence were presented.
On April 4, a San Diego jury awarded more than $5 million in damages to the mother of Rebecca Zahau after determining that the brother of her boyfriend was liable for her death. Originally, law enforcement authorities said she committed suicide by hanging herself at a Coronado mansion in 2011.
Zahau was found dead two days after her boyfriend Jonah Shacknai's 6-year-old son, Max, fell from a second-story landing at the Spreckels mansion. The boy died five days later.
Zahau's mother, Pari Zahau, and older sister, Mary Zahau-Loehner, rejected the suicide finding and filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2013 against Shacknai's brother, Adam, claiming the defendant confronted and battered Zahau the day after his nephew fell.
The attorney for the plaintiffs, Keith Greer, alleged that Adam Shacknai delivered four blows to Zahau's head, rendering her partially or fully unconscious. Greer also claimed the defendant sexually assaulted Zahau, tied her hands and feet, put a noose around her neck and threw her body off a second-story balcony.
Greer said a phrase scrawled on a bedroom door with black paint that read, "She saved him, can he save her," was written by Adam Shacknai.
After less than a day of deliberations, jurors found that the 54-year-old defendant touched and battered Zahau before her death with the intent of harming her.
Jurors awarded Pari Zahau more than $5 million for loss of comfort and companionship and loss of money that the victim would have given to support her mother.
Greer said a second phase of trial in which the jury would consider punitive damages might not be necessary.
The attorney called on the San Diego County Sheriff's Department to reopen its investigation into Zahau's death.
This is a developing story. We will update the story as new information becomes available.
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