Update, 8:25 a.m. Thursday: Attorney Anne Bremner offered an additional response regarding investigators retaining a Zahau phone the family has requested. Via email, she said phone records the family has obtained call into question the timeline detectives established based on a call the records do not reflect.
Investigators found that Zahau killed herself because she was distraught over a voice mail about the dire condition of her boyfriend's son, who had been hospitalized for nearly two days.
“But there is no evidence that such a call came in nor that such a message was received,” Bremner said. “We hope and trust that they are utilizing a forensic expert. We have requested the return of the phone so that we can conduct our own forensic examination.
An attorney for Rebecca Zahau's family has answered the call for , by saying they want nothing less than a full-fledged new inquiry.
Jonah Shacknai, Zahau's boyfriend, asked state Attorney General Kamala Harris Monday to “evaluate” findings by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and Coronado police in the deaths of Zahau, 32, and his son Max, 6, who died within days of each other in July.
Seattle attorney Anne Bremner countered Wednesday by asking Harris to conduct an independent probe, and accept input from Bremner's investigators and at least 10 experts. She said the team is prepared “to challenge the finding of suicide.”
“We also have new compelling evidence to be investigated and new critical witnesses to be interviewed,” Bremner wrote.
Zahau's family has maintained that she did not kill herself and detectives failed to explore other possibilities. Up until this point, they had been pressing for authorities to re-open the case, not for an independent investigation.
Shacknai does not question the sheriff's results, but said in his letter to Harris that he would like to end continued speculation about the odd circumstances in the cases because it has left his family in torment.
Another request by the family will have to wait. The San Diego Union Tribune reported late Wednesday that the San Diego Sheriff's Department will retain Zahau's cell phone for further testing.
The decision does not mean detectives are reopening the case, an official told the paper, but is due to the department obtaining a Windows-based program investigators lacked before.
since detectives announced an end to the investigation Sept. 2.
Bremner questioned the need for authorities to examine the phone further, because the family has obtained records of Zahau's calls and texts.
“They show that the mainstay of this suicide finding is without basis,” Bremner said, in an email.