Dr Phil: Max Schacknai & Rebecca Zahau — Accidental Death or Murder Suicide?
Six-year-old Max Schacknai fell over a second story bannister while under the watch of his father’s girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau. Max was seriously injured and on life support. He died three days later.
While his family was grieving the accident, Rebecca comitted suicide in their home. She was found hanging, naked. The authorities ruled Max’s death an accident and Rebecca’s a suicide; however, the families have not found peace in the rulings.
Rebecca’s family went to Dr Phil in 2012 after her death case was reopened and her body reexamined. Forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht examined the body and found that there were clear signs of homicide.
Max’s mom, Dina, believes she has evidence that Max was the victim of homicide. Rebecca’s sister, Mary, and her brother-in-law, Doug, think there is no way that she would have hurt Max or taken her own life.
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Dina told Dr Phil that she had issues trusting Rebecca.
“She neglected to share very important information with me, such as her legal name,” Dina said. Rebecca was married and had a shoplifting arrest. Dina thought that she had an impulse and control issue.
Max’s father knew that Dina was uneasy with Rebecca, so he set boundaries. Rebecca and her family were not allowed to be alone with Max, she would not take him across state lines, and was not allowed to attend his school events.
Dina told Dr Phil that there were inconsistencies in Rebecca’s story. She couldn’t remember what she did after Max fell. Rebecca died before Dina got a chance to speak with her about the accident, leading her to believe that she knew something that Dina didn’t know.
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Dina went on a mission to discover the truth, no matter what. She went through nine months of evidence and work to find out that there was an asault scenatio and it could have been homicide.
“Which means death at the hands of another,” said Dina. “Which means the last face [Max] saw was the person who assaulted him. Based on evidence, Rebecca has direct involvement in Max’s death.”