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Tell the Coronado Police Dept ~ Re-open the investigation into Max Shacknai's Death

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On July 11th, 2011, my only son, Maxfield (“Maxie”) Shacknai was vacationing at the house of my former husband, Jonah Shacknai, in Coronado, California. While under the sole supervision of his father's  live-in girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, Maxie allegedly accidentally fell over a second-story railing in the home's main staircase. The only other person in the house was Rebecca's thirteen-year-old sister, Xena Zahau.

Two days later Rebecca was dead after a highly-questionable suicide, and Maxie was in an Intensive Care Unit with brain injuries that would very soon take his life.

From the first moment I saw my son in the hospital, I couldn't justify his injuries with the explanations from Law Enforcement  about how he had received those injuries. After Maxie shortly succumbed to his injuries,  I was nevertheless confident that Local and County Law Enforcement would conduct professional and complete investigations, in order to provide a reasonable explanation regarding how Maxie died, thus at least allowing our family some sense of closure.

However, after being presented the incredible and unbelievable "accident" conclusions by the Coronado Police Department, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office, and the San Diego Sheriff's Department, I was determined to initiate my own investigation into Max's death.

My nine-month investigation was conducted by two nationally recognized experts in their respective fields. I carefully selected Dr. Judy Melinek, a highly respected Forensic Pathologist, and Dr. Robert Bove, Jr., a leading expert in Injury Biomechanics, both of whom work for some of the most prestigious organizations in the world. They each provided extremely compelling reports which definitively repudiate the official findings of the Coronado Police Department. Drs. Melinek and Bove each presented detailed scientific analyses concluding that Maxie was the victim of a homicide, and that the homicide was the culmination of a brutal assault scenario the worst possible outcome for any parent to imagine.

I presented my experts’ findings to the Coronado Police Department as well as the San Diego Medical Examiner on July 26th, 2012, trusting that the primary Law Enforcement agencies involved would do a legitimate review of those reports, and subsequently find them compelling enough to warrant at least reopening the investigation into Maxie's death, and thereby providing the Medical Examiner the criteria necessary to change the manner of death to "Homicide" if they ultimately agreed that the totality of credible evidence ultimately supported that conclusion.

As of September 10th, 2012, despite the overwhelmingly comprehensive scientific evidence presented to the Coronado Police Department and the San Diego Medical Examiner's Office, the COPD has inexplicably refused to reinvestigate Max's death, and the San Diego Medical Examiner's Office has also refused to reclassify Maxie's death as a "Homicide".

I believe that this decision was the result of a glaringly negligent review by both the Coronado Police Department and the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

COPD somehow elected to not even share the biomechanical results of my independent investigation with their own contracted biomechanical expert, Dr. Mark Gomez, on whose reports COPD’s conclusions were predominantly based.

Sadly, the Law Enforcement conclusions regarding Maxie’s death seem to have been virtually predetermined, and perhaps even “politically expedient”.

You can find more details regarding Maxie’s tragic and untimely death, as well as reports from the independent experts regarding their complex scientific analyses of the alleged accident at or at

Please support my quest as a grieving mother in my search for the truth regarding Maxie’s death.

I earnestly implore you consider the totality of this situation, and that it could easily happen to any parent or child, regardless of race, gender, nationality, religion, education, or economic status.

It is up to us, the parents of the world, to ensure the safety of our be their be their collective voice. They are our greatest gifts. Our children are the future.
Sincere thanks,
Dina Shacknai

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