Sheriff's Investigators Take New Look At Zahau Phone Records

Rebecca Zahau's Family Lawyer Anne Bremner Claims New Look At Phone Could Put Suicide Theory In Question

San Diego Sheriff's Investigators are taking a closer look at Rebecca Zahau’s phone records, even though the case officially remains closed.

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It’s a move Zahau’s family says proves too many questions were left unanswered and the investigation should be reopened.

In July, Zahau's body was found hanging from a balcony at the Coronado mansion owned by her boyfriend, pharmaceuticals tycoon Jonah Shacknai.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department ruled her death a suicide earlier this month.

Attorney Anne Bremner, who represents the Zahau family, told 10News, "There's something new every day. I'm contacted constantly by experts and potential witnesses and folks with information."

On Wednesday, Bremmer said a witness provided her with new information -- which has not been confirmed -- that indicates Zahau died before midnight, contradicting facts released by the sheriff's department.

"Because police said she received a call at 12:30 in the morning stating that Max was gravely ill or injured, had taken a turn for the worse, and they say she retrieved that message at 12:50 and that's why she killed herself, because she was despondent about that information. So the timeframe is very important because this information indicates she may well have died before that. The phone records that we have -- and that's new information -- indicates there was no incoming call at 12:30. Also, the message that was retrieved at 12:50, which we don't know who retrieved it, was erased."

Rebecca Zahau’s family still believes there are too many unanswered questions surrounding Rebecca’s horrific death at the Spreckles Mansion and that the case should never have been closed so soon, especially since some pieces of evidence remain unaccounted for.

Sheriff's Homicide Lieutenant Larry Nesbit said Rebecca Zahau’s phone will now be re-examined with technological programs that were not available during the initial investigation.

Zahau family attorney Anne Bremner said Sheriff's Investigators never served a search warrant for Zahau’s phone records or with AT&T, her provider, but instead only did a visual assessment of Zahau’s call history.

"It just underscores our belief that this case needs further investigation," said Bremner.

Bremner said Zahau's family has Rebecca’s phone records, but what they don't show is evidence of Zahau receiving a call and a voicemail stating little Max Shacknai had taken a turn for the worse after falling down the mansion's grand staircase two days prior.

"Their theory of a suicide was the receipt of a call with this devastating information that supposedly caused her to kill herself," Bremner said.

Zahau’s family and Bremner are hoping a new look into Zahau’s phone records will give the sheriff's office the opportunity to prove whether the call and voicemail that was supposedly erased at 12:50 a.m. ever really existed.

Bremner said that it may even be possible to retrieve the deleted message.

"The fact that police are still investigating tells them [the Zahau family] the case should be re-opened,” said Bremner, which may happen, the sheriff's office says, if something significant is found.

The process though will likely take several weeks.

This week, Shacknai sent a letter to the state attorney general to ask her to review findings that Zahau had killed herself.

Bremner is hoping Shacknai's request and the new information she received will get the case re-opened.

"With respect to whether they'll re-open it, they publicly said they will -- with new information. So we're putting all this together for them. Since that time, we've also (since that statement) heard Jonah Shacknai wrote the attorney general asking for a review," said Bremner.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Bill Gore defended his department's findings, but he added he supported Shacknai's request and would cooperate with the attorney general if she wanted to review the case.

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