July 23, 2014
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New Information Provided by Independent Experts Refutes Accidental Death Findings of Six Year Old Max Shacknai

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Aug. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- After a nine month investigation by two independent experts, Dina Shacknai recently presented evidence to the Coronado Police Department (COPD) in a meeting which included the San Diego Medical Examiner's office, requesting the case of her son's death be reopened. The evidence presented refutes the accidental death scenario of Dina's son Max put forth and announced by the COPD. Max died tragically July 16, 2011 on Coronado Island, California from injuries suffered July 11, 2011.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120806/LA53000)

"We requested a meeting with Commander Lawton and his team which took place in Coronado," said Angela Hallier, Managing Partner of Hallier & Lawrence PLC. "The police were courteous and respectful and we are looking forward to their response."

During the last nine months, Shacknai and her team conducted their own investigation and privately retained two independent experts: Dr. Judy Melinek, a board certified forensic pathologist, and Dr. Robert T. Bove Jr., an expert in injury biomechanics.

According to Dr. Melinek, "... the manner of death is not [accurate]. It would be more accurate to certify that manner as a homicide, where homicide is defined as death at the hands of another."

Dr. Bove reports, "Dr. Melinek has proposed a scenario in which Maxfield Shacknai was assaulted, which resulted in the facial and forehead injuries sustained by Maxfield Shacknai. In her scenario, as a result of this assault, Maxfield Shacknai's back contacted the railing along the second floor hallway or along the stairs leading from the second floor to the landing which caused the soft tissue injuries to his back. As a result of the assault, Maxfield Shacknai moved or was moved over the railing causing him to fall to the first floor level and as a result of his contact with the first floor he sustained his skull fracture, subgaleal contusion and cervical cord injury. The kinematics associated with this scenario provide biomechanically accurate mechanisms for all of Maxfield Shacknai's injuries and are consistent with the physical evidence and geometry of the incident scene."

"An assault scenario is the only scenario that Dr. Bove and Dr. Melinek, in collaborative consultation, could identify that accounts for the multiple planes of injuries on Max's body and the scene findings," added Hallier.

"Not until three weeks after a debriefing from the COPD/Sheriff's Department and the subsequent press conference, did I receive a five-page report authored by Dr. Mark A. Gomez, who was hired by the COPD to perform the injury biomechanical analysis, said Dina Shacknai, Max Shacknai's mother. "Things just didn't add up to me, so I hired independent experts to review the findings. When I started this process all I knew is that I wanted the truth, wherever that led, like any parent would. Even though nothing will bring my only child Maxie back, I owe it to him, as his mother, to make sure the true facts of his death are known. It's important that his story be told, because this could happen to anyone's child," continued Shacknai.

Summaries of the experts' findings and other related documents, including photographs, are available to the media. To request a copy please contact aliptai@martzagency.com.

About Dr. Judy MelinekDr. Melinek M.D. is American Board of Pathology board certified in forensic pathology and anatomic and clinical pathology. Since 2004 she has been with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in San Francisco, California and is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pathology at the UCSF Medical Center. Dr. Melinek also served as the Assistant Medical Examiner - Coroner for the Santa Clara County Office of Medical Examiner-Coroner. She has also been a clinical instructor in Forensic Medicine for the Office of Chief Medical Examiner for the City of New York, as well as held the Chief Resident position with the Department of Pathology, UCLA. Dr. Melinek received her B.A. in Biology magna cum laude, June 1991 from Harvard University and her M.D. with honors from UCLA School of Medicine in May 1996. Dr. Melinek's experience also includes being a Peer Reviewer for The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, as well as numerous professional lectures, presentations and consulting. She is currently a member of the National Association of Medical Examiners and Associate Member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. She has been board certified in Forensic Pathology since November 2002 and in Anatomic & Clinical Pathology since August 2001. Dr. Melinek has consulted and testified in several criminal and civil cases in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, Oregon and California.

About Dr. Robert T. Bove Jr., Ph.D.Dr. Bove is a Manager in Exponent's Biomechanics practice with expertise in injury biomechanics with an emphasis on kinematics and human tolerance to mechanical forces. He performs accident reconstruction and biomechanical analyses to determine accident configuration and severity, as well as injury mechanisms, with particular emphasis on computer modeling. Dr. Bove has held an academic appointment as a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University and as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Temple University. Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Bove was an engineer at Galaxy Scientific Corporation, where he worked evaluating image compression software for military and medical applications. Dr. Bove received his doctorate in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and worked with the Electrophysiology Research Group at the University of Pennsylvania Presbyterian Medical Center. Prior work experience also includes employment by the Central Intelligence Agency and expertise in cardiac electrophysiology, computer modeling and image processing.

SOURCE Dina Shacknai



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