SAN DIEGO -- The state attorney general declined a request by Jonah Shacknai to review San Diego County law enforcement findings about the deaths of his girlfriend and his 6-year-old son.
In a letter sent Wednesday to Shacknai, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen. Dane R. Gillette said Shacknai's request does not fit the criteria set for the attorney general's involvement in such a review.
"Please accept our sincere condolences for your tragic loss and feel free to contact me if you have any questions," Gillette wrote, on behalf of Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris.
The office launches such reviews, Gillette wrote, if there is a conflict of interest on the part of local law enforcement, if a local agency has requested assistance or if there are allegations of malfeasance.
In his request, Shacknai said he continues to support the Coronado Police Department, San Diego County Sheriff's Department and San Diego County medical examiner in their conclusion that Max died from an accidental fall and that Rebecca Zahau committed suicide.
Shacknai said he hoped a review by the attorney general would help the Zahau family accept the fact Rebecca committed suicide and stop the "vicious speculation and innuendo in certain media outlets."
Max was injured July 11 in a fall at the family's Coronado mansion. Rebecca Zahau, 32, died July 13, and her nude body was found hanging from a second-story balcony at the Spreckels mansion.
The boy died July 16 at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.
In his letter to Harris, Jonah Shacknai, a pharmaceutical industry executive, had concluded, "I pray Max and Rebecca are now at peace, and I hope you might be able to help the rest of us devastated by their losses achieve some peace and closure as well."
Anne Bremner, the Seattle lawyer representing the Zachau family, also wrote to the state Attorney General's Office in response to Shacknai's request. She said that she would be requesting much more than a review of the case.
"We are requesting a full independent INVESTIGATION into the circumstances surrounding Rebecca’s tragic death - with full input from us, our investigators and our experts," Bremner wrote in a email to Attorney General Kamal Harris. "We have significant and compelling information, analysis and crucial and pivotal facts to share. We have also retained nearly ten unimpeachable experts who with ample bases challenge the finding of suicide. We also have new compelling evidence to be investigated and new critical witnesses to be interviewed."
Shacknai issued a statement Thursday saying he understood and accepted the reasons the Attorney General's office declined to review the case, but he also understood why Zachau's family continues to have questions.
"If at any time there is new substantive evidence bearing on this case, it should be presented, not in tabloid form to fuel rumor and innuendo, but rather to appropriate law enforcement authorities who may determine whether further investigation is warranted," Shacknai wrote. "I continue to pray Max and Rebecca are now at peace, and that all of us devastated by their losses will be permitted to continue to grieve privately as we struggle to achieve some peace and closure.”