San Diego Sheriff’s Department agrees to revisit investigation of Rebecca Zahau death
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The Sheriff’s Department announced Monday they will review their investigation of the death of Rebecca Zahau.
“The Sheriff’s Department has continually indicated its willingness to reevaluate the Rebecca Zahau case if new evidence was presented. After a productive conversation with the family’s attorney, Keith Greer, Sheriff Bill Gore determined that, while no new evidence was presented, new analysis of existing evidence was presented in the recently concluded civil trial. In the spirit of transparency and open-mindedness, we have agreed to undertake a fresh review of the case, by investigators who have had no prior involvement with the case, to evaluate the new information. Without having the materials and reports from the civil attorney in front of us at this time, it is difficult to say how long this review will take; however, we expect it will take at least 90 days.
When our investigation is complete, we will meet with the family’s attorney to discuss our findings. Ultimately, the cause and manner of death, in any case, is determined by the Medical Examiner. In San Diego County, the Medical Examiner’s Office is an independent entity and separate from the Sheriff’s Department.”
Zahau was found hanged, naked, bound and gagged on July 13, 2011 at the historic Speckles Mansion in Coronado, owned by her boyfriend, pharmaceutical CEO Jonah Shacknai.
Although her death was ruled a suicide by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the County Medical Examiner, the Zahau family disputed that finding and in a wrongful death suit, alleged that 54-year-old Adam Shacknai, the brother of Zahau’s boyfriend, murdered her after a sexual assault and then staged the killing to look like a suicide.
In early April, a California civil jury found Adam Shacknai guilty and he was ordered to pay Zahau’s family $5 million for the loss of Zahau’s love and companionship.
The panel has not yet determined whether they will order punitive damages.
Adam Shacknai released a statement Monday following the announcement from the Sheriff’s Department.
“I welcome a fresh review by the San Diego Sheriff’s Office. As I have maintained from the beginning, I was in no way involved with Rebecca’s death, which was part of a tragic sequence of events, that also involved the loss of my six year nephew Max. I will be pleased to assist the investigation in any way requested, as I have all along.”