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Rebecca Zahau’s Sister: I’m ‘Very Disappointed’ With Investigation Into Her Suicide

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Sep. 19 2011, Published 9:00 a.m. ET

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By Jen Heger - Legal Editor

Mary Zahou says she’s “very disappointed” with the San Diego Sheriff's Department handling of her sister’s death which was ruled a suicide, something that the family refuses to accept.

Rebecca Zahau’s naked body was found hanging from her billionaire boyfriend Jonah Shacknai's mansion in Coronado, CA. (a suburb of San Diego), two days after his son, Max, 6, was found unconscious at the base of the stairs. Max later died from his injuries.

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Mary Zahau is reeling from the stunning news that the twin sister of Jonah Shacknai's ex-wife and Max's mother, Dina, sent Rebecca a text message at 10:41 p.m. the night that her sister died.

In the message Nina Romano said she wanted to talk to Rebecca in person about Max's accident. "I'm very disappointed that the San Diego Sheriff's Department did not even follow-up on basic information such as the text message on Becky's phone," Mary tells

Rebecca's cell phone hasn't been returned to her sister, who wants to turn it over to an independent forensic investigator. "I don't have anything they took. The San Diego Sheriff's Department is avoiding us and our attorney, Anne Bremner," Mary tells

"I don't even want them right now other than to give the items to experts to forensically download all the computers and the phone to analyze the data."

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The Zahau family has hired powerhouse attorney, Anne Bremner, who is pressuring law enforcement to re-open the investigation into the cause of Rebecca's death.

Law enforcement revealed that Jonah called Rebecca shortly before midnight on July 12, the day Rebecca died. "We know from the investigation the (voicemail) message that was left on her phone was to inform Rebecca of Max's grave condition and imminent death," said San Diego County Sheriff's Sgt. Dave Nemeth at a news conference several weeks ago.

Max Shacknai
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But according to Bremner, there is no record of Jonah calling Rebecca in that time period: "There is no call from Jonah Shacknai's cell phone to Rebecca Zahau's, which is another cause for concern, and yet another reason for law enforcement to re-open the investigation."

However, there might be an explanation for the call not appearing on Rebecca's cell phone. AT&T spokesperson Georgia Taylor told the CBS affiliate in San Diego: "When someone calls you and you do not pick it up, or the call was not received, it goes straight to voicemail," Taylor said. "It is not logged on your bill per se."

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Nina told News 8 in San Diego about the text message she sent to Rebecca, several hours before her death: "I just wanted to talk to her about the accident," Romano said. "And so I sent her a text message that said, ‘Hey are you around? I'd like to come by,' and I never heard from her. She never responded to me."

In the final hours before her death, Rebecca's cell phone log included an incoming phone call from Jonah's brother, Adam at 7:39 p.m., outgoing text messages to her sister Mary and the incoming text message from Nina Romano at 10:41 p.m.

Cops contend that Rebecca listened to Jonah's message at approximately 12:50 a.m. and shortly thereafter, killed herself. The voicemail message from Jonah was erased.


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