Adea Shabani case: Remains found in Northern California identified as missing actress

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Adea Shabani is seen in undated file photos.
Adea Shabani is seen in undated file photos.

LOS ANGELES -- The remains discovered in a shallow grave in Northern California have been positively identified as belonging to missing Hollywood actress and aspiring model Adea Shabani.

Sheriff's officials from Nevada County said on Wednesday that Shabani, 25, was identified through her tattoos. Autopsy results revealed that Shabani sustained blunt force trauma to her head, and no other major trauma was found on her body.

The case has been deemed a homicide, but the cause of death will not be determined until toxicology and tissue analysis are completed, authorities said.

Christopher Spotz, Shabani's boyfriend who was engaged to another woman and killed himself after a police chase last week, is suspected in her death, Los Angeles Police Capt. Billy Hayes said at a news conference Tuesday.

Shabani, who had been studying acting in Los Angeles for less than two years, was reported missing on Feb 25. She was last seen two days earlier getting into a car with Spotz.

After she was reported missing, authorities said Spotz released a statement saying he traveled with Shabani to Northern California. He said they got into an argument and he dropped her off somewhere in Santa Clarita on the side of a freeway and didn't see her again.

Hayes said detectives found nothing that corroborated that statement.

During the investigation into Shabani's disappearance, Hayes said Spotz and his fiancee drove from Los Angeles to her parents' home in Fort Morgan, Colorado.

At some point, the investigation led authorities to a lake at the Woods Wildlife Area in Nicholas, California, but they were not successful in finding anything. They did eventually gather other information during the search that led them to the shallow grave where the remains were found on Tuesday.

Detectives issued a warrant for Spotz's truck. On Thursday, he led police on a short chase in Riverside County, where he exited the freeway and fatally shot himself in the head.

Hayes said detectives suspect that Shabani has been dead for more than a month.

Authorities have not released any information on a possible motive.