Dina Shacknai pleads for son's case to be reopened

Shacknai addressed Coronado City Council Tuesday

CORONADO, Calif. -  

After the Coronado Police Department refused to reopen its investigation into Max Shacknai's death, his mother Dina Shacknai took her fight to Coronado City Council Tuesday afternoon.

Dina Shacknai spoke for about four minutes during the public comment portion during Tuesday afternoon's city council meeting and also provided them with a packet of information she hopes will eventually lead to the reopening of son's case.

About 14 months ago, Dina Shacknai's 6-year-old son Max passed away after an alleged fall from the staircase inside the Spreckels Mansion.

Since Max's case was closed and ruled an accident, Shacknai hired two world-renowned experts to conduct an investigation that would last nine months.

"As the mother of a dead child, I believe I deserve, he deserves more than a three-sentence note declining my request to reopen the investigation," she told the council.

In the nine-month investigation, biomechanics expert Dr. Robert Bove found Dr. Mark Gomez's report for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office as being inconsistent with Max's injuries, stating in part, "impact with the railing, even at fast running speeds, would therefore not result in a fall over for someone of Maxfield Shacknai's stature, due to the location of their center of gravity below the top of the railing."

Bove also pointed out what is said to be a major flaw in an incident diagram, which depicts Max being several inches taller than he was in real life, giving him a different center of gravity with the railing on the mansion's grand staircase.

Shacknai said, "I promise and give my commitment to the community that I will leave no stone unturned to find out what happened to Max."

In the end, Bove agreed with the findings of Dr. Judy Melinek – the other expert hired by Shacknai – that Max was assaulted.

"Both experts agreed that Max, my 6-year-old son, was the victim of an assault scenario which culminated in a homicide," said Shacknai.

However, nowhere in the report does Shacknai's expert Bove take a position as to whether the actual incident that led to Max's death was intentional.

That may be why, in part, Coronado Police Chief Lou Scanlon refused to reopen Max's case.

Print this article Back to Top