Nearly two months after a discovery that would capture worldwide headlines, Rebecca Zahau's family, along with many in Coronado, is disputing investigators' conclusion that her death was a suicide.
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"All I know at this point is my sister didn't commit suicide and I want justice for my sister," said Mary Zahau-Loehner.
Zahau's sister said the night before Rebecca's death they spoke. Rebecca said she would call her mother en route to the hospital the next morning. Her boyfriend's 6-year-old son, Max Shacknai, was critically injured and had been taken to Rady Children's Hospital.
"She gave me detailed information that
not a person who was trying to harm herself would ever do," said Zahau-Loehner.
Investigators pointed out that a few hours later Rebecca Zahau is believed to have checked her voicemail and learned of Max's grave condition.
Her family said Rebecca was a religious person who wouldn't take her own life.
While detectives say Zahau lost weight and seemed stressed a few months ago, her sister said that doesn't add up to suicide.
"You will never come across anyone in her life that would say she's ever talked about suicide," said Zahau-Loehner.
Loved ones also remain puzzled over why Zahau would bind both her arms and feet.
During Friday's news conference, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore called it "unfortunate" the family couldn't accept the results of the investigation.
The family has hired high-profile Seattle attorney Ann Bremner to explore their options, and they also plan to hire a private investigator and a criminal profiler.
"The family wants justice. The family does not believe it was a suicide. Rebecca had no history of suicidal tendencies, no psychological problems and no history of depression," said Bremner.
On Friday, 10News spoke to several Coronado residents who watched the news conference. Despite a lengthy presentation outlining the conclusion of suicide in Zahau's death, many doubted it.
Coronado resident Paul Mershon said he believes detectives did a thorough job, but one fact continues to bother him.
"It just doesn't make sense to me
a person would tie their hands behind their back and bind their feet and commit suicide in this fashion," he said.
"Ask any woman and they'll say if they are going to kill themselves, they won't be naked," added Coronado resident Joe Ditler.
Investigators said Zahau slept in the nude and could have bound her arms and feet to prevent her from changing her mind.
However, other Coronado residents told 10News they believe the death of a child in Zahau's care could be motivation for a suicide.
"It makes sense to me for some reason," said Coronado resident Denise Shorall.
At first, it did not make sense to Reed Holman, a personal trainer at Zahau's gym.
"She worked out, seemed fine, seemed happy," said Holman.
Days before her death, she seemed upbeat. But after learning investigators' conclusion in the case, Holman said, "Police say that's what happened, I would agree with them."
The apparent end of the case could subdue the whirlwind of notoriety that has swept through Coronado.
"It's so ugly none of us want to talk about it, but it's so morbid and fascinating you can't help it," said Maribeth Stull, who lives two blocks away from the mansion.
While detectives say the mystery is solved, Stull is not convinced.
"I think it's going to linger for a long time," she said.
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