SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Coronado Police officer who was among the first to arrive at the Spreckels Mansion after the death of Rebecca Zahau testified Monday in the wrongful death civil case.
Zahau’s death was ruled a suicide in 2011 but her family believes she was killed. They sued Adam Shacknai, the brother of Rebecca’s boyfriend.
Adam Shacknai called 911 to report the body hanging from the balcony.
TIMELINE: Rebecca Zahau case
In testimony Monday, the unidentified officer said his duty was to go through the home and make sure no one was still inside, deeming it safe for investigators to enter.
Investigators would later find a single boot print on the balcony where Zahau’s nude body was found bound and hanging.
The shoe print would end up being one key piece of evidence. Investigators needed to find out who it belonged to, and if someone else was with Zahau before her body was discovered.
SLIDESHOW: Coronado death investigation
The Zahau family lawyer is trying to prove Adam Shacknai was with her and played a role in her death.
Shacknai’s lawyers argue there is not a single piece of evidence that ties him to Zahau’s death. His DNA was never found at the scene, and there were no eyewitness accounts to support the Zahau family’s claim, lawyers say.
The officer on the witness stand was questioned about the shoe print by Keith Greer, Zahau’s family lawyer.
“Do you know whether or not that footprint on the deck is yours?” Greer asked.
“Personally I do not, but I’ve been told that it is,” replied the officer.
He said as part of the investigation, his boots were taken in as evidence.
Investigators later determined the print was accidentally left behind by the officer during his sweep of the home.
The same officer who testified answered questions from Shacknai’s lawyers about a call he responded to at the home days before Zahau’s death.
Zahau’s boyfriend’s son, Max Shacknai, had suffered a life-threatening fall inside of the home while in her care.
“Once I entered the house I saw a small boy on the ground with some debris on him,” said the officer.
He went on to say he remembers seeing Zahau very emotional and crying, but doesn’t remember directly speaking with her.
A PERT counselor, a fingerprint expert and a handwriting expert are also expected to testify Monday.