Coronado police won't reopen Max Shacknai death probe

SAN DIEGO, CA - The Coronado Police Department will not be reopening their investigation into the death of a young boy at the Spreckels Mansion last year.

According to a press release issued Monday, Coronado police declined to reopen their probe into the July 2011 death of 6-year-old Max Shacknai despite an independent investigation that contradicted the conclusion that the boy's death was an accident.

"In light of the evidence we provided, it is shocking that the Coronado Police Department has refused to reopen the case," Dina Shacknai said in the release. "As a mother, I will leave no stone unturned and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to pursue justice and find the truth behind my son's death, however long that may take. We presented scientific evidence and legitimate science does not lie. It is more than disappointing that despite the depth and detail of the evidence we presented, the system has failed us and it has failed Max. I just hope we can make a meaningful difference in many other children's lives through our experience and through the recent creation of Maxie's H.O.U.S.E."

"I feel as if science was basically manipulated and distorted to fit a predetermined and politically expedient outcome. I do not intend to stop my fight for justice," Shacknai added.

*To read the complete press release, click here

Last month, Dina Shacknai and her attorneys met with Coronado police in an effort to have her son's case reopened and investigated as a homicide.

Shacknai hired a team of experts to conduct a private investigation into Max's death after a fall over a banister inside his father's Coronado mansion last summer.

Findings of a certified forensic pathologist and an expert in injury biomechanics indicated Max was assaulted before going over a second-floor railing.

They determined that the railing was six inches above the standing center of gravity for someone of Max's height. Therefore, a fall over the railing was not possible.

Shacknai also released photos of Max in the hospital before he died to show just how horrific his injuries were.

"That's important because not very many people saw Max in the hospital room," she said.

Other findings include injuries to Max's face and forehead that experts determined were consistent with the forces of an assault.

Max's hands also showed no signs of abrasions from reportedly grasping the chandelier.

They determined that his back contacted the railing and moved up and over the railing as a result of an assault before he landed on the first floor below.

Max died from his injuries five days later in the hospital.

Marty Rudoy, the attorney for Rebecca Zahau's family, told 10News in a previous interview that there was no evidence to show there was an assault.

"I don't believe there is any evidence as to why he fell and the absence of such evidence doesn't necessarily mean there was an assault," Rudoy said.

Just as Shacknai wants her son's case to be reopened, Rudoy wants the San Diego County Sheriff's Department to reopen Zahau's case.

Zahau, the girlfriend of Max's father Jonah Shacknai, was inside the mansion with Max at the time of his injuries along with her 13-year-old sister.

Though Zahau was not named as a suspect in Max's death, Dina Shacknai has made it clear that she believes Zahau was involved. She said Zahau was not to be left with Max if his father was not home.

Days later, Zahau was found dead, hanging from an outside balcony of the mansion. Her death was ruled a suicide, but the Zahau family is challenging that ruling.

"Had nothing happened to Max, we don't believe anything would have happened to Rebecca," said Rudoy

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