2011 Shows

Was it suicide or foul play? On July 13, Rebecca Zahau, 32, was found dead in a historic California mansion owned by her boyfriend, Medicis Pharmaceuticals CEO Jonah Shacknai. Investigators say Shacknai’s brother found the woman nude, hanging from a second-story balcony off the guest room of the main house with her feet bound and hands tied behind her back. Zahau’s death occurred two days after Shacknai’s 6-year-old son reportedly fell from a second-floor banister while in her care. The boy died of his injuries three days after Rebecca's body was found. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department announced its finding that Rebecca committed suicide, but Zahau’s family says there are mysterious circumstances surrounding her death, and think she was murdered. Could Rebecca have bound her own hands and feet in that manner? Was the cryptic message painted on a nearby door a suicide note or a message from a killer? The family has asked for a reexamination of the facts, along with an independent autopsy, to be conducted by renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, who has claimed that ruling Zahau’s death a suicide was a hasty conclusion. Dr. Phil is by the family's side as they hear the latest autopsy results. Will these findings bring answers, or just more questions? If there is indication of foul play, who is responsible? And, can Rebecca’s loved ones find closure after their tragic loss?

Find out what happened on the show.
Replied By: anifesoj2011 on Nov 25, 2011, 2:55PM
We don't hear much about the boyfriend Jonah Shacknai. What does he have to say?
Replied By: millyed on Nov 20, 2011, 8:23AM - In reply to kricketz
It was reported here in San Diego that the 911 call was made by Jonah Shaknai's brother who was staying at the home after Shaknai's son was injured.  It was the brother who saw her hanging and cut her down.
Replied By: bigfanatic on Nov 19, 2011, 2:44PM - In reply to maprph
I also believe the little boy's mother killed her out of anger for what happened to the little boy.  She probably doesn't believe it was an accidental fall.   I'm wondering if she knows how to tie those fancy knots.  She could have learned how  in advance.   She could have had help.
Replied By: alcinda1863 on Nov 18, 2011, 9:21AM - In reply to sandnsurfmom
I woke up last night and thought about some questions that needed to be answered.  Here are just a few.

Were there abrasions on her stomach, thighs, knees, or shins?  If not then how did she get over the railing?  Did she jump high enough to get over the railing without touching it?  Were there rub marks on the bottom of the balcony edge?  There should be if she "fell" over the balcony railing.

There are way too may questions.  The auhorities rushed to judgement. 

if not
Replied By: rachelemma on Nov 17, 2011, 3:35PM
Hi Dr. Phil,

I just wanted to point out a common grammatical error that you made on the show.  You said, in reference to Rebecca Zahau, that "she hung herself".  The correct term for death by hanging, is "she hanged herself".
The word "hung" is only used as a verb such as "she hung a picture on the wall".  If you don't believe me, look it up on Wikipedia!!  Thanks, Dr. Phil, by the way I am a HUGE fan and never miss a show!
Replied By: marlin11 on Nov 17, 2011, 11:20AM - In reply to armywife2008
Good Point about the writing on the wall!
Replied By: maprph on Nov 17, 2011, 1:34AM
I think someone with a lot of hate--like the ex-wife, the mother of the boy did it or paid someone to do this. Curious the brother who was staying on the property did not hear anything going on?  Maybe he was involved too--he's the one who first said she hung herself.  No way it's a suicide.  There are easier ways to go. Police department looks suspicious too with the rush to close the case as a suicide. 
Replied By: kricketz on Nov 16, 2011, 10:26PM - In reply to myfilter
I 100 percent agree, I too found it odd the 911 call....you see a woman naked with hands tied behind her back, her legs bound and a shirt tied around the mouth/head and you immediately deduce that she hanged herself....What??? The tone and wording of the man made himself sound detached from the victim, like a pedestrian who just happened on by the crime scene and not the victims common-law boyfriend's brother. Something is amiss, I hope they will reopen the investigation.
Replied By: a22sis on Nov 16, 2011, 6:28PM
I dont know much information about this case, but agree that is most def not a suicide. I have to wonder where is the bf in this?? Was he ever questioned?? I heard a time for 3am not sure if that was when she was found if so what was the bf's brother doing there at that hour??  why would he refer to her as a women and not my brothers gf?? I could have swore i seen a foot print on the deck floor in which she was bare footed. & did they actually lift any finger print from the ropes, bed, sweater, and knifes??
I believe that the bf had something to do with this, and even possiable had ties into the police department why they determined so quickly without proper investigation.

Im very glad that the family made the right choice and getting another autopsy done. I hope they find justice and a sense of relief to move forward.
Replied By: sandnsurfmom on Nov 16, 2011, 1:01PM
I have followed this case on the news from the start and the circumstances just don't make sense.   I could not believe the Sheriff determined it to be a suicide considering the mountain of fishy evidence.  Thanks Dr. Phil for giving this case public attention.  I hope the family gets justice for Rebecca and finds the truth.   

After watching the show yesterday, I am even more convinced this was homicide.   My question is...was she ever hanging in the first place?   It seems like her neck would have had more injury even if she were pushed over the balcony.  The brother had supposedly cut her down before law enforcement even arrived.   It is also strange on the 911 call that he starts out saying she hung herself even though he saw her hands and feet tied up and then says to Rebecca "Are you alive?"   If her body was in rigor when he cut her down prior to this call, he would surely have already known that answer.
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