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A woman who married a man 22 years older! The tragedy happened on the 3rd day of marriage:

A woman hanged naked

By GowshikPublished 6 months ago 4 min read
Rebecca Zahau

CORONADO, Calif. —

One of San Diego’s most infamous cases was back in the spotlight Thursday.

Rebecca Zahau was found dead at the Spreckles Mansion in Coronado in 2011. Her family maintains it was not a suicide.

Thursday morning they held a news conference at their attorney's office in Rancho Bernardo to announce they are now petitioning the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office and the prior San Diego Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Jonathan Lucas, to change the cause of death from "suicide" to "homicide" or "undetermined."

They said the goal is to have the criminal case re-opened by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Attorney Keith Greer said the family wants Adam Shacknai held criminally responsible for Zahau's death.

In 2018, Zahau's family sued Shacknai for wrongful death. A civil jury found Shacknai liable for Zahau's death. However, a year later, the family settled with Shacknai's insurance company. The case was then dismissed, and the verdict vacated.

During Thursday's news conference, Greer had on display several visual aids, including a mannequin meant to represent Zahau, bound and gagged, hanging from a railing. He cut down the rope holding the mannequin up to try and show Shacknai was lying when he told the civil jury he had to stand on a table to cut the rope.

"Anybody looking at this case, looking at the evidence says 'This can't be suicide, this cannot be suicide.' No woman would do this to herself, naked, exposed to the world," said Greer.

"[Rebecca] was just a genuinely nice human being that was brutally murdered, and there's still nothing been done about it," he added.

While Greer says there was evidence revealed at the civil trial that may be new to the medical examiner's office, he said there is no new evidence in the case.

"No new findings, this evidence has been in front of everybody for 10 years. You look at it, I'm screaming from the hills "Murder in our backyard people! Why aren't we doing anything about it?" This community should be incensed," said Greer.

A spokesperson for the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office sent CBS 8 this statement:

"We haven’t received the petition, but the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office did a thorough investigation of Ms. Zahau’s case in 2011 per California Government Code Section 27491. In 2018, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Glenn Wagner reviewed the case and made no changes to the certified cause and manner of death."

A spokesperson for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department sent CBS 8 this statement:

"The San Diego County Sheriff's Department maintains the highest quality and standards throughout our work and investigations. If the findings from the Medical Examiner's office were to change, we would request the State Attorney General's Office or other appropriate outside agency complete the re-opened investigation. We would fully cooperate with their investigation, provide them all evidence and documentation, and answer any follow-up questions they had."

Judge to issue decision in Zahau case requesting Sheriff’s documents from 2011 death

Greer says San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore withheld crucial documents, which include the inter-office communications and the instructions given to deputies.

Zahau was found dead at 32-years-old inside the Spreckles Mansion in Coronado 10-years-ago.

The sheriff's department ruled it a suicide, but her family thinks she was murdered. Zahau’s family says Gore is required by law to release files in the case, and the files he did give were not sufficient.

Gore's attorney, Thomas Deak says the law allows him to withhold the information.

"There are no factual allegations in the petition that whatever lead to the conclusion, that is sheriff’s instructions to his investigators concerning the conduct of an investigation with the sheriff’s department," said Thomas Deak, senior counsel at the San Diego County Sheriff Department. "There are no circumstances where those would be discoverable if they exist,”

Greer says the sheriff's attorney argued hard and is trying to get the case dismissed, but he feels the judge will deny the motion to dismiss and they will move onto the hearing at the end of January.

“The sheriff’s department, sheriff Gore for some reason does not want to let the public know what he told those officers, what their real instructions were,” Greer said.

Greer says the family needs this missing piece to their puzzle.

“All the final ruling will let us know is whether we can proceed to the hearing, or the case will be over and it goes up on appeal," said Greer.

A ruling from the judge is expected on Monday for a hearing to take place for documents to be released in the case in January 2022.


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