Adea Shabani, Chris Spotz, and the unanswered questions left behind by murder investigation

Adea Shabani photo
Adea Shabani’s body was found in a shallow grave, and police believe her boyfriend, Chris Spotz, was involved in her murder. Pic credit: Facebook

Death by Fame: For the Love of Drama features the murder of Adea Shabani, whose boyfriend, Chris Spotz, was a person of interest in the case.

According to Shabani’s Facebook, after she graduated from high school in Skopje, Macedonia, she went to college in Paris. She was an aspiring actress so she later started school at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting in Hollywood, California, which is where she met Spotz.

He attended the school after he graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a psychology degree. 

Spotz and Shabani then began dating on and off.

Shabani was supposed to graduate in September 2018, but on Feb. 23 of that same year, she disappeared just days before her 26th birthday.

She was last seen around 1:15 p.m. at her apartment in the 1700 block of Wilcox Avenue, and she left her front door unlocked. She was also seen carrying two suitcases as she got into a vehicle with Spotz.

When relatives and friends were unable to get in contact with her for two days, they reported her missing.

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Relatives tried desperately to find Shabani. 

They hired a private investigator and offered a $25,000 reward for information that would lead to her whereabouts.

Investigators were suspicious of Spotz when he told an attorney that he and Shabani got into a verbal altercation as they were traveling to Northern California.

Spotz, who was 33 years old at the time, said he pulled over on the highway near Santa Clara when Shabani asked to get out of the car. And when she got out, he drove off.

He said he hadn’t seen or heard from her since, but officials said they found no evidence to corroborate his story.

Chris Spotz was engaged to Mary Elmalak while dating Adea Shabani 

Spotz also sent a text message to one of his friends. He stated that before he left Shabani on the side of the highway, she told him that he would never see her again.

In a news conference, Williams Hayes, captain of the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Robbery-Homicide division, said, “Something happened, and I believe it to be somewhat untoward.”

“But until I get more specifics out of the coroner’s exam… I can’t be definitive as to the cause and manner of death.”

On March 1, 2018, detectives went to Northern California, which is where Spotz’s father lived, to gather more information about the case. And it was then that the detectives learned that Spotz was engaged to another woman named Mary Elmalak.

They also uncovered that Spotz and Mary traveled in a Toyota Tacoma to Fort Morgan, Colorado, to visit Spotz’s mother.

It is unclear if Mary, who reportedly worked as a nurse in Los Angeles, knew anything about Spotz’s relationship with Shabani or her disappearance.

But Shabani allegedly knew that Spotz was engaged to Mary, as she told her friends that he was planning to leave her. It wasn’t long after that that Spotz proposed to her.

It is believed that Shabani was planning their wedding before they broke up, but shortly after that, they reportedly got back together. Then they traveled to Northern California.

Detectives attempted to question Chris Spotz and search his truck

Detectives traveled to Colorado in an effort to ask Spotz follow-up questions about the events that led up to Shabani’s disappearance.

They had also obtained a warrant to search his truck, considering that’s where Shabani was last seen.

Once there, detectives were unsuccessful in locating Spotz and his truck, so they returned to California.

On March 22, 2018, detectives asked the California Highway Patrol to be on the lookout for the Toyota Tachoma, as they had reason to believe that it was involved in a homicide.

Chris Spotz led police on a car chase before suicide

At around 8:45 p.m. that same day, an officer spotted the truck on Interstate 15 in Hesperia.

Spotz was behind the wheel.

When the officer tried to pull Spotz, who was 33 years old at the time, over, he continued driving. He led police on a high-speed chase throughout southern California.

The California Highway Patrol caught up to the vehicle on Limonite Avenue, where they deployed two spike strips.

They were unsuccessful.

Spotz continued driving until he reached Rio Vista Street, just south of the 91 Freeway. It was there that he fatally shot himself in the head as officers were about to make a traffic stop.

When relatives learned that Spotz had taken his own life, they stated that it was not only shocking but devastating. They said Spotz was the kind of person who would uplift anyone around him.

Body of Adea Shabani was found in a shallow grave

Two days later, investigators received information that led them to the Spenceville Wildlife Area in Nevada County.

The Los Angeles Police Department then called anthropologists from Cal State Chico to the scene “to determine if the site is a grave site and, if so, whether any remains found are related to the LAPD’s missing person case,” the sheriff said.

They also sent a dive team to search the lake for Shabani, but they were unsuccessful.

On March 27, 2018, Shabani was found dead while police officials were searching the banks of a creek. Her body had been buried in a shallow grave near Beale Air Force Base.

They believe she had been dead for weeks.

Shabani was identified by her tattoos the following morning during an autopsy at the Placer County morgue.

The medical examiner ruled Shabani’s death a homicide after learning she died from blunt force trauma to her head.

During a press conference in April, Las Angeles police officials announced that they considered Spotz a suspect in Shabani’s murder.

They added that they would continue their investigation to determine whether or not someone else was involved.

Chris Spotz uploaded suspicious YouTube video

According to IMDb, between 2014 and 2018, Spotz appeared in four short films, including Pickman’s Model, Statues, and In Solitude With Me.

From time to time, he would upload videos from his YouTube account, called theCspotz, and showcase clips of his work.

On Jan. 11, 2018, he uploaded a monologue that many believed was a prediction of Shabani’s death. 

In the video, he could be heard saying, “If I picked up the gun and made the sacrifice, my life would be given back to me. Absolution. My love would be given back.”

“And she would never know what I did to get it back.”

To Live and Die in LA podcast featured Adea Shabani’s case

In 2019, Neil Strauss featured Shabani’s disappearance and murder in his podcast “To Live and Die in LA,” which was listed as the top 10 podcasts of the year by The Associated Press. 

Strauss, an author and journalist, worked alongside Jayden Brant, a private investigator who was hired by the victim’s family, to find out what may have led to Shabani’s death.

Strauss said in a statement that “This podcast is for the victims of this story and those who love them. I hope to bring them the answers and the closure they deserve after so much pain and uncertainty.”

“I hope this series can shed light on them, inform families in similar situations, and lead to a change in procedure, especially in the crucial first week.”

Death by Fame: For the Love of Drama premieres Monday, February 13 at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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