Dr. Phil on Rebecca Zahau: murder or suicide? - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Dr. Phil on Rebecca Zahau: murder or suicide?

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Watch Dr. Phil Tuesday, November 15 at 3PM on CBS 8 for Part 2 of the Mysterious Death of Rebecca Zahau Special.

CORONADO, Calif.  (CBS 8) -- New evidence in the mysterious death of Rebecca Zahau, 32, has been revealed on the "Dr. Phil" television show. News 8's Phil Blauer spoke with Dr. Phil McGraw about his findings in an exclusive interview.

The show included audio excerpts from the 911 call placed by Adam Shacknai on the morning of July 13, when he reported he had found Zahau hanging at the Spreckels mansion in Coronado. At the time, the home was owned by Adam's brother and Zahau's boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai, 54.

Limited excerpts of the 911 call were played during Monday's Dr. Phil Show:

POLICE DISPATCH: 911 emergency. What are you reporting?
ADAM SHACKNAI: I got a girl… hung herself.
POLICE DISPATCH: Is she alive?
ADAM SHACKNAI: Are you alive? I don't think so.

More clips from the 911 call are expected to be included in Tuesday's program, which airs on CBS 8.

Also in Monday's episode was newly-released home video of Rebecca Zahau. Zahau's family does not believe the Sheriff department's findings that Zahau hanged herself while bound, gagged and naked.

"I know my sister and she would not want to hurt us," Rebecca's sister Mary Zahau-Loehner said on set. "She was not the type of person who would commit suicide. There is no way."

Other evidence presented on part one of the "Dr. Phil" series included one of Rebecca's final text messages, where she described the condition of her boyfriend's son, Max Shacknai, 6, who suffered severe brain injuries in a reported fall down the mansion staircase July 11.

The text message, sent to Zahau-Loehner hours before Rebecca's death, responded to questions Zahau-Loehner had asked about how Max was doing in the hospital:

Not okay but better. No swelling detected and they have decreased the amount of coma. And he said he seem more alive. I can't believe this. It's a nightmare and particularly it's hard for me (because) I love him like my own but he is not and I need to be strong for Jonah.

Detectives believe Zahau killed herself after she found out Max would not survive.

Dr. Phil responded to the evidence revealed during part one of his special report.

"You always have to consider that the family just doesn't want to accept that a family member has taken their own life," Dr. Phil said. "But in this case, I have to say, there is troubling evidence, both in terms of victimology and in terms of the actual scene and how it dovetails with the forensic findings from the forensic autopsy."

Zahau family attorney Anne Bremner has reviewed evidence contained in Sheriff Department reports, which have not been made public.

"They didn't look at a pair of woman's underwear in a garbage can in the guest house. They didn't look at black gloves at the scene. They didn't look at many people with DNA or fingerprints," Bremner revealed on set.

One big question, who was on a computer inside the home at 3 a.m., just hours before Zahau was found dead?

"On one of the computers – and she's alone in the house, apparently when she supposedly kills herself – is used after her death," said the Seattle-based attorney.

"This is a case where there's blood in the shower; not analyzed. There's footprints down in the kitchen; not analyzed," said Bremner.

Bremner also claimed that DNA evidence in the case was not fully analyzed the Sheriff's department.

"We have mixed DNA in this case all over; in things like the knife, the bed frame, and black gloves. Mixed DNA unexplained as to who these other donors are," said Bremner.

The Dr. Phil show re-aired excerpts from a News 8 reenactment of the Coronado mansion mystery, which showed the rope binding as described in the autopsy report.

The News 8 reenactment showed dramatic movement of a similar bed when a 100 pound weight was tied to it and dropped off a balcony. The bed moved much farther than the 7.5 inches displayed in evidence photos.

"Was it a suicide? Of course I don't know and I don't think anybody does at this point," Dr. Phil told News 8. "But there are enough unanswered questions that this family no going to find peace until they get the answers."

Dr Phil had private investigator, Paul Ciolino, re-interview mansion neighbors. One woman was sitting by an open window on the night Zahau died.

"She heard screams and as she described it, 'I heard a women calling for help.'" said Ciolino. "There's another neighbor on the other side of the house that repeats the same thing."

Dr. Phil said he invited members of the Shacknai family to appear on his show but they declined.

On Tuesday, Dr. Phil will air the results of a second autopsy performed by world-renowned, forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht.

The Sheriff's department declined to respond to specific evidence aired on the Dr. Phil Show, but issued a statement saying:

To date, neither our detectives, nor the Medical Examiner's Office have been presented with any evidence from this second autopsy.   If Dr. Wecht or Miss Bremner would like to share information they believe is pertinent with our investigators, we would be glad to meet with them, rather than hear their results on television presented as entertainment.

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