CORONADO, Calif. — Ten years ago Tuesday, Adam Shacknai called 911 to report his brother’s girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, was dead.
Officers found the woman bound, naked and gagged, and Shacknai told officers he found her hanging by a rope at the Spreckels Mansion in Coronado.
Adam Shacknai would later be found liable for her death by a civil jury in San Diego, in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the Zahau family.
On the anniversary of her sister’s death, Mary Zahau-Loehner is now demanding a new criminal investigation, by a law enforcement agency other than the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
“Ten years is a long time but for us, the family, some days it feels like it's just yesterday and we miss her terribly,” said the sister.
Last year, the Zahau family filed a new lawsuit against Sheriff Bill Gore, seeking investigative records in the case, which was ruled a suicide in 2011 by sheriff’s investigators.
The lawsuit alleged Sheriff Gore has refused to turn over investigative records in the case, even though he promised to release “the entire investigative file” in a 2011 letter to the Zahau family attorney.
“I don’t trust the sheriff's department, but who would? If anybody went through what I and my family had to go through the last 10 years, nobody would trust the sheriff's department at this point,” said Zahau-Loehner.
The family’s 2020 lawsuit alleged the sheriff only made public those investigative records supporting the agency’s conclusion that Zahau's death was a suicide. The Zahau family believes Rebecca was murdered.
“We do want the case taken over by an outside agency,” Zahau-Loehner said.
“We will always, always continue to fight and we're not going to stop because we know the truth. We know she was murdered and we trust that God is on our side, and justice will be served someday,” Zahau-Loehner said.
The County of San Diego has filed a demurrer seeking to have the Zahau family’s lawsuit dismissed. A hearing on that demurrer is set for July 23 in the downtown San Diego Hall of Justice.
News 8 reached out to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, but a spokesperson said the agency could not comment on pending litigation.
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