The body of a woman found in a shallow grave in Northern California Tuesday has been positively identified by authorities as that of aspiring actress-model Adea Shabani, who family members reported missing from her Los Angeles home on March 1.
During an autopsy conducted by Placer County Morgue officials early Wednesday morning, Shabani’s body was identified by her tattoos, according to Lt. Rob Bringolf of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations Division.
“The manner of death in this case has been determined to be homicide,” according to Bringolf. “It appears Ms. Shabani sustained blunt force trauma to her head but final determination of cause is dependent upon toxicology and tissue analysis. No other major trauma was observed on Ms. Shabani’s person.”
Shabani, 25, had recently moved from her native Macedonia to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, and may have last been seen in the Santa Clarita area on Friday, February 23, according to initial reports from Los Angeles Police Department Missing Persons Unit detectives.
The LAPD described Shabani as a 25-year-old white woman with blonde hair, blue eyes, 5’5″, weighing approximately 130 pounds.
Nevada County Sheriff’s detectives, LAPD detectives and anthropologists from CSU and Chico met Wednesday morning at a rural location off Spenceville Road, on the bank of Dry Creek, which runs through the Spenceville Wildlife Area in Nevada County, according to Bringolf.
LAPD detectives had been led to the location through their investigation and discovered what they believed to be a shallow grave.
After detectives and Placer County Morgue medical examiners unearthed what appeared to be the body of an adult female, an autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday morning to identify the remains.
In a news conference Tuesday, LAPD Robbery/Homicide Captain William Hayes said investigators suspect Shabani was killed by Chris Spotz, 33, of North Hollywood, described as her boyfriend, more than a month ago.
After Shabani was reported missing, the LAPD obtained surveillance video from her Hollywood apartment building that showed the two of them together on February 23, the last time she was reportedly seen alive.
Through his attorney, Spotz, also an actor, told LAPD detectives he and Shabani had argued in Santa Clarita en route from Los Angeles to a relative’s home in Northern California. Spotz said he had dropped her off on a roadside in Santa Clarita.
However, investigators could not confirm his story, and issued a warrant for his arrest.
Spotz’ Toyota Tacoma truck was spotted by police in the Corona area on the 91 Freeway east of Los Angeles on March 22. After a brief chase, he committed suicide with a gunshot to the head.
The circumstances and cause of Shabani’s death are still under investigation, Bringolf said.