Coronado Mansion Death: Rebecca Zahau Knocked Unconscious?


Dr. Phil Airs New Autopsy on Coronado Mansion Death

Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, a DNA expert and forensic scientist who heads the Department of Sciences at the City University of New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, shared similar suspicions with in September, saying the injuries as described in the autopsy report suggested "a substantial blow to the head."

"There are four hemorrhages in four different positions," Kobilinsky said at the time. "When you see these kinds of scalp hemorrhages you have to explain them."

San Diego medical examiner Dr. Jonathan Lucas issued a statement in response to September press inquiries about the autopsy report. With regard to the hemorrhages, he said, "Because there was evidence that she went over the balcony in a non-vertical position, she may have struck her head on the balcony on the way down."

The sheriff's department admonished Wecht and the family's lawyer Anne Bremner, for taking the autopsy results to the "Dr. Phil" show before showing them to authorities.

In a statement released Monday, the San Diego Sheriff's Department said: "To date, neither our detectives nor the Medical Examiner's Office have been presented with any evidence from this second autopsy. If Dr. Wecht or Miss Bremner would like to share information they believe is pertinent with our investigators, we would be glad to meet with them, rather than hear their results on television provided as entertainment."

Although the "Dr. Phil" show presented no new evidence, Bremner raised additional concerns about the police investigation, questioning why a woman's pair of underwear found in the mansion's guest home had never been analyzed, and why two neighbors reported having heard a woman screaming.

The family claims the San Diego investigators assumed Zahau received difficult news about Max in the hours before her death, but because that voicemail message had been deleted from Zahau's phone they say it's impossible to know what it really said.

"Nobody has heard what the voicemail says," said Zahau-Loehner. "It's gone and wasn't retrieved from AT&T when it could have been done."

The family also disputes the message written on the bedroom wall in black paint. Although Zahau liked to paint as a hobby, they say the handwriting doesn't look like hers -- and the message did sound like her either.

"My sister writes everything every elaborately," said Zahau-Loehner. "If she's going to leave a message, that's not going to be the message."

McGraw pointed out Zahau could have felt "terribly guilty" about Max's injury and as a result decided to end her life.

But Zahau-Loehner told McGraw her sister "didn't feel guilty about it," citing a text message Zahau sent that said, in part, "I need to be strong for Jonah."

McGraw noted "naked suicide" is "almost always involved with severe guilt in some way" as opposed to other devastating events.

Zahau-Loehner and her husband Doug Loehner, who also appeared on the show, remained adamant that Rebecca Zahau wouldn't have killed herself, telling McGraw the family wants the California Attorney General to appoint an independent investigation.

"She would want us to find out the truth of what happened to her," Zahau-Loehner said. "She would do the same for me if it was the other way around."

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