Rebecca Zahau "Suicide" Now More Bizarre; Unexplained Head Injuries Raise More Questions

The bizarre death of Rebecca Zahau -- the girlfriend of Scottsdale-based Medicis CEO Jonah Shacknai, whose death was ruled a suicide last week -- just got more bizarre; the results of Zahau's autopsy make it seem even less likely that she took her own life.

Aside from being found bound behind her back, naked, and hanging from a balcony at Shacknai's Coronado, California, mansion, Zahau's autopsy revealed several unexplained head injuries a renowned forensic pathologist says don't necessarily support the theory that Zahau hung herself.

Pathologist Cyril Wecht reviewed Zahua's entire autopsy report at the request of a San Diego TV station.

Wecht finds the following:

"She has subgaleal hemorrhages; those are hemorrhages on the undersurface of the scalp. I see no reason why she should have those. You get those when your head strikes something or is struck by something."

Brain hemorrhaging could have happened when Zahau was cut down from the balcony -- she may have hit her head -- but it wouldn't have happened in four different places in the brain, Wecht concludes.

"Even if (her) scalp hit bushes, that kind of impact would not produce subgaleal hemorrhage," Wecht continues. "We're talking about contusions on the top of the head. So, even as the body is falling down - let's say there are branches - how do you get bruises on the top of the head as the body is falling vertically downward?"

Another tidbit the San Diego County Sheriff's Department left out of its press conference last week, when it announced Zahau's death was a suicide, is the message left in black paint on a door near the room where Zahau was found hanging.

The SDCSD mentioned a message during the press conference, but wouldn't tell reporters what it said.

That message, the autopsy reveals, was the following: "She saved him can you save her?"

The message could possibly be referencing Shacknai's son, Max, who died days after falling down a staircase in the family's mansion. Max was under Zahau's care at the time of the fall, which happened about two days before she was found dead.

It seems if Zahau were the person who'd written the message, it would say "can you save me," not "can you save her."

The investigation into Zahau's death has been closed, and, as we mentioned, it's been ruled a suicide.

"Were these deaths the result of criminal conduct? Was Max's death a homicide? The answer is no," San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said at a press conference last week. "It was a tragic accident. Was Rebecca's death a homicide? Again the answer is no. It was a suicide ... These deaths were not the result of any criminal acts."

Zahau's family, however, has asked police to reopen the case.

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James King
Contact: James King