Update: Shacknai Boy's Mother Questions Circumstances of His Death

Dina Shacknai calls for meeting with Coronado police, who determined the boy died as a result of an accident at Spreckels mansion one year ago. Police Chief Louis Scanlon said the department will oblige.

Update 5:50 p.m. Monday, adding comments from Coronado police and an attorney for Rebecca Zahau's family, and more from Dina Shacknai's news conference.


Coronado police Chief Louis Scanlon said his department will meet with representatives of the mother of one year ago.

Dina Shacknai and her attorney said Monday that she does not believe the explanation police provided about how her son sustained a head injury that contributed to his death on July 16, 2011. Three days before Max's loss, in a suspicious case that was later determined to be a suicide.

Shacknai and other supporters held a news conference in Phoenix Monday to raise questions about how Max Shacknai, 6, died, and announce the creation of a second foundation in his memory. Spreckels homeowner Jonah Shacknai, the boy's father, .

Scanlon said the department received a fax from Dina Shacknai's attorney Monday morning formally requesting the meeting, explaining that experts retained by the family had drawn new conclusions regarding Max's death.

“We have certainly been open with them and shared information. We will obviously meet with them again and listen to the information they provide, evaluate that information and proceed from there,” Scanlon said.

Shacknai's attorney, Angela Hallier, did not offer specifics of her concerns in the message, the chief said, nor did she do so during the 20-minute news conference.

“We are certain that the accident scenario put forth by the Coronado Police Department is inaccurate,” Hallier said.

The experts hired by Dina Shacknai include a biomechanics engineer and a forensic pathologist, Hallier said.

A complete video of the news conference is available on KPHO.com, a CBS affiliate.

Dina Shacknai also discussed establishing a foundation, Maxie's HOUSE, in her son's name. The organization would aid parents dealing with the complexities of divorce and blended families.

The psychologist, Jonah Shacknai's ex-wife, spoke from a podium where a child's handcrafted house had been placed. Max created it for her as one of his last Mother's Day gifts.

Maxie's HOUSE – which stands for Hope, Outreach, Understanding, Safety and Education – to serve as a resource for parents, “assuring the safety of children living in multiple households.”

Hallier suggested the organization's efforts would include lobbying for law changes to help parents who are no longer involved find out more information about new people who have entered their ex-partners' lives and might have an impact on their children.

“It is still my job to find out exactly what happened to him and to continue this until I find an answer,” Dina Shacknai said.

Max, 6, died following a July 11 fall at the oceanfront mansion, where Jonah Shacknai, who founded Medicis, an Arizona pharmaceuticals firm, spent his summers.

Two days later, the man's girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, 32, was found dead in a rear courtyard on the property. She was nude and bound; the homeowner's brother said he found her hanging from a second-story balcony.  

Zahau was home when Max fell, along with her younger sister.

Coronado police investigated the boy's death, while the San Diego County Sheriff's Department conducted the probe into Zahau's death. .

and has pushed since last year for a new investigation into her death. a formal request by attorneys who represent her loved ones.

One of their lawyers, Anne Bremner, said there is no evidence to suggest that Zahau was involved in Max's death. She has maintained that both cases should be re-opened.

“Everyone's heart goes out to her that she wants to know what happened,” Bremner said of Dina Shacknai. “We're all saying same thing, that there needs to be further investigation all around.” 

Earlier this year, Dina Shacknai sued San Diego County to obtain photos from her son's autopsy; . Jonah Shacknai expressed satisfaction with both investigations in September, when the Sheriff's department and Coronado police announced their results at a joint news conference on the eve of Labor Day weekend.

Your lion September 18, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Jonah, Nina, and Adam. Where were they while Rebecca died? Adam was there. Nina was there earlier and CLAIMS she left, but not proven. Jonah unseen for 7 hours.
Dr. Sue, May 29, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Mother of Shacknai Boy: One of Two People at Mansion Killed Him Justice for Max Shacknai!!! Two knives and two paint brushes, one for Rebecca and one for Xena. WAS ABSolutely DOPING!!!!
Dr. Sue, May 30, 2013 at 02:23 AM
The messages are out on many other posts about: There are "HATE BEGETS HATE" and "RACIST" IMPOSTERS that are FRAUDULENTLY claiming that Rebecca was murdered, but fingerprints and DNA proved she killed herself. Read all about it!!!!!! Rebecca committed the world's most bizarre suicide by hanging herself. She removed her clothes, showered, and then she simply looped the rope around her ankles, hands and neck, wrapped a t-shirt around her neck and partially bit into it. She used one hand to paint a message on the door to her sugar daddy with a paint brush and black paint; she then replaced her own hand back into the loop from behind and managed to transfer paint to hip as she replaced her hand back into the restraint. She hopped over to the balcony and rolled over to her death. Rebecca was light-weight, the frame of the bed was very heavy and the carpet fibers limited the movement of the bed. It was not that difficult for the investigators to conclude that she committed suicide. No screams were reported the night Rebecca committed suicide. No one else entered the house; there were no signs of any struggle. People DO NOT murder like this. She really was a Fkd up individual to kill a child and kill herself in the nude for public viewing. No further proof needed.. DNA and fingerprints say it all. Rebecca assaulted/bludgeoned Max and she hanged herself in the nude out of guilt. Rebecca's CASE WILL REMAIN CLOSED.
Kim January 20, 2014 at 09:18 PM
@Sue that is ridiculous! Re-read what you posted. She was murdered.


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