Exhuming a body is not something that happens each and every day, but one family hopes it will provide them with more details into the death of their loved one this past summer in Coronado.
According to a San Diego Union-Tribune report, the family of Rebecca Zahau is having her body exhumed so that a second autopsy can be done to try and determine if the young woman hung herself or if she was murdered at the Spreckels Mansion in Coronado back in July.
Both the Sheriff’s Department and county medical examiner stated Zahau hung herself, while her family contends that is not the case.
“I want to thank for all the support and donation we have received,” Zahau’s sister, Mary Zahau-Loehner, commented in a released statement Tuesday. “Due to the generosity of the public, we will be able to proceed with exhumation of Rebecca to find the truth of her death.”
The family is working with Dr. Cyril Wecht, a Pittsburgh-based pathologist and attorney, who has gained national recognition over the years for his work on some notable autopsies.
According to the victim’s sister, the findings will be aired on the “Dr. Phil” television show down the road.
According to at least one report, television host Dr. Phil McGraw had offered to pay for the exhumation.
A spokesman for the “Dr. Phil” show released the following statement Tuesday: “We endorse the family’s effort to search for closure to this terrible tragedy and will stand with them going forward as they navigate through their grieving process.”
The family has been looking for monetary help for some time now via a Web site, justiceforrebecca.org, since authorities closed the case in early September. Donations can be offered through another Web site, RebeccaZahauFund.com.
Zahau’s body was discovered nude and bound July 13 at the oceanfront Spreckels mansion owned by her boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai, founder and CEO of Arizona-based Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. Shacknai’s brother, who was reportedly the only other person in the mansion at the time, called authorities after reportedly finding Zahau.
At a news conference in September, officials reported Zahau hung herself due to the fact she was distraught over the grave injuries that Shacknai’s 6-year-old son, Max, suffered in an accidental fall two days earlier. Max died later that week at Rady Children’s Hospital.
Max then died of his injuries days after Zahau.
“Rebecca received news regarding Max’s grave condition at about 10 minutes to 1 in the morning. She made the decision to take her own life,” San Diego County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Nemeth stated at the time, according to ABC.
If a second autopsy determines otherwise, will we ever learn who the murderer is?