CORONADO (CBS8/CNS) - The "Dr. Phil" television show will air the results of a second autopsy planned on the body of a woman who died at the historic Spreckels mansion in Coronado.
Rebecca Zahau's body will be exhumed from her grave in Missouri and tested for further evidence of foul play, and her family will appear on the "Dr. Phil" show in November, according to a statement released by Zahau family attorney, Anne Bremner.
The Seattle-based attorney issued the following statement Tuesday:
The family of Rebecca Zahau created a fund and website to help raise monies to investigate the cause of Rebecca's death. www.RebeccaZahauFund.com
Through the generosity of others, they have decided to appropriate donations to the exhumation of her body and Dr. Cyril Wecht has donated his services to conduct an independent autopsy.
The family has asked for Dr. Phil's advice, through this process, in dealing with the findings—whatever they may be and will be meeting with Dr. Phil in November.
It is our hope that Rebecca can be returned to her resting place with the truth of this tragedy finally confirmed and justice served.
The Dr. Phil Show airs on CBS 8 in San Diego. In a written statement, a Dr. Phil spokesperson said, "We endorse the family's effort to search for closure to this terrible tragedy and will stand with them going forward as they navigate through their grieving process."
After a seven-week investigation, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and other agencies concluded Zahau, 32, committed suicide. Her family has refused to accept the finding, saying Zahau was a religious woman who viewed suicide a sin.
Zahau's nude body was found hanging from a balcony at the Spreckels mansion on July 13. The mansion is owned by Arizona millionaire Jonah Shacknai, founder and chief executive officer of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. Shacknai and Zahau were boyfriend and girlfriend.
Authorities have speculated that Zahau committed suicide because she was distraught over an accident that occurred two days earlier. On July 11, Zahau was caring for Shacknai's 6-year-old son, Max, when he took a fatal fall over a second-story railing.
Last month, Shacknai asked the state Attorney General's Office to review the sheriff's department's investigation into both his son's and girlfriend's deaths. Shacknai said he accepted the findings of the local investigation but wanted a state review to lay to rest any speculation.
His request was denied because the California Department of Justice reviews local investigations under very narrow circumstances, such as when a clear conflict exist or if a local agency asks for assistance.
Rebecca's sister, Mary Zahau, issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
Due to the generosity of the public, we will be able to proceed with exhumation of (Rebecca) to find the truth of her death. Dr Wecht has been kind and generous to help us with an independent autopsy.
We would appreciate further donations and support in any way. The venture of Justice for Rebecca is going to be long and challenging. This is only the beginning of that journey and it is possible due to the tremendous support and generosity of the public, experts, news media, and our attorney Anne Bremner.