Mystery mansion death: Autopsy results revealed


by Carey Peña, Jared Dillingham

Bio | Email | Follow: @JaredDillingham

Posted on November 15, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 16 at 11:43 AM

Rebecca Zahau’s family never believed that she took her own life.

The beautiful 32-year-old was found naked, hanging with her hands bound behind her back from the balcony of her millionaire boyfriend’s Coronado mansion.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department says all evidence points to suicide.
Case closed.
That is until the family raised enough money through their ‘Justice for Rebecca’ fund to hire world renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht. He agreed to perform an autopsy in partnership with the Dr. Phil Show.
The results of Wecht’s autopsy were released on Tuesday.
“I lean very strongly toward it being a homicide, something involving foul play, and I lean very strongly against suicide,” Wecht told Dr. Phil during the episode that aired Tuesday night on 3TV.
3TV reporter Jared Dillingham spoke with Wecht about his findings.
Wecht told Dillingham that he found four hemorrhages under Zahau’s scalp which, he says, is more consistent with an attack and not a suicide.
The doctor says he doesn’t understand how you get four separate impacts to the top of the head in a vertical hanging.
Also, he questions why Zahau’s neck is not injured the way it should be from hanging. He points out that the cervical vertebra would have been fractured or dislocated, separated from each other or from the base of the skull.

“That was not present as found in the original autopsy or by me,” he said.
Wecht said that he suspects the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is not happy with his findings.
In a statement to 3TV, the San Diego County 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. We would be glad to meet with them, rather than hear their results on television provided as entertainment.”
Read the full statement on the sheriff's department's website.

Dillingham can be reached on Twitter at @Jared3TV