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Judge delays decision on release of Sheriff's documents in Rebecca Zahau death investigation

PHOTOS: Rebecca Zahau death investigation
Posted at 7:27 AM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 18:07:43-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Monday, the family of Rebecca Zahau learned they will have to wait until next year to find out if a judge will allow them to see the San Diego Sheriff's Department's files on her death.

One of San Diego's most mysterious and notable death investigations, Zahau died at the Spreckles Mansion in Coronado in 2011. Her death was ruled a suicide, but her family believes there was foul play.

"What we think the documents will show is, it will expose corruption on behalf of Sheriff [Bill] Gore," said Zahau family lawyer Keith Greer."We're trying to compel Sheriff Gore to give us documents he said he already had given. He promised to give the family the complete, investigative file of the original investigation of Rebecca's death, and he didn't. He only released things that supported his conclusion of suicide."

Greer argues that SDSO selectively disclosed files to the public while withholding information in violation of the California Public Records Act. County attorneys argue the information the family is requesting is exempt from disclosure.

Zahau was found nude and gagged with her hands and ankles bound, hanging from the balcony of her boyfriend's beachfront summer mansion on July 13, 2011. Her family believes that, though her death was twice concluded to be a suicide, she was killed.

The family hoped to get more information during a civil case against Adam Shaknai, the brother of Zahau's former boyfriend, Jonah, who was found liable in her death. The $5 million award in that civil case was dismissed after the family reached a settlement with Shaknai's insurance company.

Zahau's family has said they believe she was possibly killed by Adam in retaliation for the death of his nephew, who sustained a fatal fall under Zahau's care.

After Monday's hearing, Greer told ABC 10News the court has ruled to have another hearing on the matter in January.

Greer explained that the judge didn’t immediately rule on releasing those files, but Greer will have to prove that SDSO selectively disclosed files to the public while withholding information.