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Zahau Family Files Suit Seeking Homicide Evidence

Rebecca Zahau died July 13, 2011 at the Spreckles Mansion in Coronado. Zahau's death was a ruled a suicide but her family insists she was murdered.
10 News
Rebecca Zahau died July 13, 2011 at the Spreckles Mansion in Coronado. Zahau's death was a ruled a suicide but her family insists she was murdered.

Nearly two years after her death, the family and estate of Rebecca Zahau filed a lawsuit today against San Diego County authorities, seeking records and other evidence in their quest to prove that the Coronado woman died as a result of a homicide and not suicide, as investigators concluded.

Zahau, 32, was found hanging outside her boyfriend's historic Spreckels mansion on July 13, 2011.

An attorney for the Zahau family, Marty Rudoy, said the suit was filed against San Diego County, Sheriff Bill Gore and Medical Examiner Dr. Glenn Wagner "to get further information regarding the death of Rebecca Zahau, so that we can bring closure and peace to the Zahau family.''


Among the items being sought via the lawsuit is a complete copy of the original 911 call, Rudoy said. The copy of the call turned over to the family contained an unexplained eight-second gap, the attorney said.

The suit also seeks information related to the death of the 6-year-old son of Zahau's boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai.

Max Shacknai died as a result of an accidental fall over a stairway railing at the mansion in Coronado two days before Zahau took her own life, authorities concluded.

"We think the two deaths are intrinsically related, in that, if nothing happened to Max, then nobody would have done anything to Rebecca,'' Rudoy said.

Another attorney working for the Zahau family, David Fleck, said one goal of the lawsuit is to undercover any evidence that Zahau killed herself.


"We're not just looking for compelling evidence of suicide, we're looking for any evidence of suicide,'' Fleck told reporters.

Without naming names, Fleck alleged "there were several people that should have been in jail'' for murder the day Zahau's nude and bound body was found hanging from a balcony.

A few months after Zahau's death, Gore said investigators were convinced that Zahau took her own life based on the physical evidence, medical information and witness statements.

Zahau's younger sister, Snowem, said her older sibling's life was cut short way too soon.

"We will not stop pursuing or fighting for justice to find the truth, and we hope that soon the truth will be revealed,'' she said.

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