An autopsy is scheduled Wednesday on a body that was pulled from a shallow grave in Northern California and is believed to be that of a model and aspiring actress who disappeared in Hollywood last month.
Los Angeles police Capt. William P. Hayes said Tuesday investigators believe the body found in the Spenceville Wildlife Area about 40 miles north of Sacramento is that of 25-year-old Adea Shabani and that a man who committed suicide following a recent police chase was likely involved in her death.
Dozens gathered outside the missing woman’s apartment Tuesday night for a vigil to remember the model. A friend of Shabani’s at the scene told ABC7 Shabani touched a lot of lives and was “very loved.”
Shabani was last seen on the afternoon of Feb. 23 leaving her home near the 1700 block of Wilcox Avenue, between Hollywood Boulevard and Franklin Avenue, Hayes said. At the time, she was with a fellow aspiring actor named Christopher Spotz, who fatally shot himself last week following a police chase in Riverside County.
Hayes said the pair were leaving for a trip to Northern California. Shabani was reported missing two days later, and Spotz eventually released a statement through his attorney that the pair had gotten into a fight during the trip, and he claimed he dropped her off in the Santa Clarita area and never saw her again.
Hayes said investigators doubt the veracity of that claim.
Shabani and Spotz, 33, of North Hollywood, were involved in a romantic relationship although Spotz was engaged to someone else with whom he traveled to Colorado at the beginning of March, Hayes said.
Shabani came from Macedonia and had been in Los Angeles less than two years, according to her friends. Her family hired a private investigator to help find her and offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts.
As the investigation progressed, police began searching for Spotz in hopes of examining his Toyota Tacoma pickup for possible clues, Hayes said. Spotz was spotted in the Tacoma in San Bernardino County Thursday night and fled when police tried to stop him. The chase led from Hesperia to the Corona area, where Spotz fatally shot himself, Hayes said.
Hayes said investigators are examining evidence collected from the pickup truck and a rental car used by Spotz while in Colorado.
“At this point in time we believe that those remains are the body of Miss Adea Shabani. We cannot say that conclusively at this point in time because the conditions of the remains prohibited positive identification,” Hayes said at a Tuesday news conference at LAPD headquarters.
“We also believe that … Christopher Spotz was somehow involved in her death and we believe this to be a homicide. However, until the conclusion of the autopsy and our ability to examine the evidence related to the recovery of that evidence we won’t be able to determine that definitively.”
Spotz, who is believed to have attended the same acting school as Shabani, appeared in various short films over the past three years and had a minor role in a forthcoming web series “The Shoaks,” according to IMDB.com.
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