The death of Max Shacknai, the child who died last year , should be labeled a homicide, not an accident, according to experts hired by his mother to look into the case.
Dina Shacknai retained the services of Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist, who said “it would be more accurate to certify (the) manner (of death) as a homicide, where homicide is defined as death at the hands of another."
Shacknai issued a news release detailing the findings of the nine-month private investigation into her 6-year-old son's death Monday.
Her contentions echo those of Rebecca Zahau's family, who have long argued that the woman who died two days after Max's fall was a homicide victim. They have asked that the state re-open both cases.
Zahau, 32, was found nude and bound outside the mansion July 13. Detectives from the San Diego County Sheriffs Department . Max died July 16.
, Shacknai announced that she had questions about the case and requested a meeting with the Coronado Police Department, which investigated the boy's fall. At the time Angela Hallier, an attorney for Shacknai, said they only that Shacknai questioned the scenario put forth by the pollce department, but declined to elaborate.
In her Monday statement, representatives for Shacknai said officials from the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office were present at the meeting with Coronado police.
Her team also includes Dr. Robert T. Bove Jr., an engineer who studies “injury biomechanics.”
“An assault scenario is the only scenario that Dr. Bove and Dr. Melinek, in collaborative consultation, could identify that accounts for the multiple planes of injuries on Max's body and the scene findings,” Hallier said in the statement.
Dina Shacknai is the ex-wife of Spreckels owner Jonah Shacknai, an Arizona pharmaceuticals mogul. Zahau was Jonah Shacknai's girlfriend.
Coronado police have said that only Zahau and her adolescent sister were at the home when Max fell. Jonah Shacknai's brother found Zahau's body.
He was the only person on the property when she died, though Nina Romano, Dina Shacknai's twin sister, conducted an interview last year in which she admitted to being at the mansion late on July 12, hours before Zahau's body was discovered.