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.
Ultimately, the cause and manner of death, in any case, is determined by the Medical Examiner. Rebecca Zahau, 32, was found dead the day after her boyfriend Jonah Shacknai's 6-year-old son Max Schacknai fell from a second-story landing at the mansion.
The boy died five days later. Some big developments in a high-profile death. Did grief drive a young woman to take her own life -- or was it something else? It's a story that crashed the shores of Coronado Island like a tidal wave: A young woman found hanging at a multimillion-dollar mansion.
Now the dead beauty's family has a date next month in civil court. They say they've got new evidence that Rebecca Zahau was murdered. Rebecca Zahau, 32, was living a storybook life. She was dating fabulously wealthy pharmaceutical magnate Jonah Shacknai. But those good times would quickly tumble into tragedy.
In JulyZahau was alone with Shacknai's 6-year-old son Max at the estate. At one point she was taking a shower. Blauer says police reports reveal the young boy fell down the mansion's staircase, plummeting headfirst to the floor below.
Max's injuries were grave, including massive trauma to the brain. The family is at his bedside around the clock hoping that he can improve," said Blauer.
Police say Rebecca Zahau is wracked with guilt. Then two days later: Hours after that phone call, tragedy becomes absolute terror. It's Rebecca Zahau, dead, her naked body swinging by a taut rope from the main house's balcony. Rebecca moved out to the balcony, leaned forward over the railing and fell," said San Diego County Sheriff's Sgt. He immediately begins to give her CPR, but it's too late," said Blauer. Inside, investigators are met with more horror. And painted on the bedroom door is a cryptic message: Rebecca Zahau's death was a suicide.
But Zahau's family attorney Keith Greer believes a number of clues at the scene might indicate otherwise.
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They've filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the man who says he found Zahau swinging from a rope, Jonah Shacknai's brother Adam. The family alleges Adam Shacknai didn't merely find Zahau, they allege he killed her.
Greer says it's all in DNA evidence on the knife Adam Shacknai used to cut down the body, a knife stained with Zahau's blood. But what about that cryptic message painted on the bedroom door?
Greer says that's not something Zahau would write. In fact a handwriting expert hired by the family tells Greer it's his opinion the letters aren't even in Zahau's hand.
The family lawsuit maintains that Adam Shacknai assaulted Rebecca Zahau, then murdered her and staged a suicide to cover his crime. Adam Shacknai has denied all of the allegations. And the San Diego County sheriff says the investigation remains concluded as a suicide. 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.