Adea Shabani Murder: How Did Chris Spotz Die?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Death by Fame: For the Love of Drama’ depicts the mysterious death of 25-year-old aspiring actress Adea Shabani in Los Angeles, California, in February 2018. Though the investigators looking into her case were able to gather substantial physical evidence to zero in on her purported killer, her homicide case remains open to date. If you’re interested in the alleged perpetrator’s identity and what exactly happened, we’ve covered you. Here’s what we know so far.

How Did Adea Shabani Die?

Adea Shabani was born in Skopje, the capital and largest city of North Macedonia. She attended QSI International School of Skopje and shifted to France to study International Business Administration at the American University of Paris. According to her social media profile, Adea made at least one trip to America while studying in Paris, as evident from a 2012 photo of her posing with Kanye West in a Las Vegas nightclub.

After graduating in 2014, Adea briefly worked in a Dubai jewelry store before moving to Los Angeles to pursue her childhood dream of acting. Adea’s friends and family remember her “as a lively, engaging woman with a warm presence.” She loved listening to Beyonce and Drake and decorating her apartment with posters of her favorite movie idols and fresh flowers. Besides, her stately beauty, comprising her blond hair, blue eyes, and slender figure, made her look like every bit of the starlet she aspired to be.

Adea was studying at the renowned Stella Adler Studio of Acting in February 2018, and her friend, Christian Name, said, “She was very serious about her career. And I know she wanted to finish school to be well prepared.” The aspiring actress’ neighbor, Krysi Newman, reminisced, “It’s just very haunting and sad because she just had great energy. She was delightful. I would see her in the elevator, in the laundry room. She gave me good laundry tips and she was just a delightful spunky gal.”

Krysi and Christian fondly remember Adea as “energetic, emphatic, and delightful.” Hence, it came as a shock when the 25-year-old disappeared on February 23, 2018, and her body was found a month later in a shallow grave in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Based on the autopsy report, the authorities resolved that she had died from “blunt force trauma to her head,” and her death was ruled homicide.

Who Killed Adea Shabani?

Police records state Adea was last seen on the afternoon of February 23, leaving her apartment with her boyfriend, Chris Spotz. A Colorado native, he was an aspiring actor and had met her at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. As per news reports, their relationship was quite complex, with Chris being engaged to another woman named Mary Elmalak while dating Adea. The latter’s friends reported her missing to the Los Angeles Police Department when she failed to attend an important class on February 26.

Jayden Bryant, a private investigator hired by Adea’s family, said, “That was the first class of that semester when they were assigning roles. Friends had described her as excited … and said she was seeking a large role in that class. Friends—and the school record—indicate she was not a person who missed class. She was very responsible.” Adea’s batchmates also stated they became anxious when she did not show up, so they reported her missing to the authorities.

After learning the aspiring actress was last seen with Chris, the investigators reviewed the surveillance footage in the building’s elevator to confirm it. They found the couple wearing baseball hats and Adea carrying two pieces of luggage. Her phone records showed it was the last time she had texted one of her friends, asking where she could buy red candles. As Adea was an avid texter, her family and friends got worried after not hearing from her for a long time. But they decided not to ring any alarm bells since they thought she was on a weekend trip with Chris.

The investigators interviewed Chris to learn he had left with Adea on a long drive to Northern California. However, he alleged the couple had a bitter argument in the car, and she got out of the car at Santa Clarita, about 25 miles from her home, before he drove away. Chris claimed it was the last time he had seen Adea and had no knowledge about her disappearance. Meanwhile, the search for the 25-year-old intensified, with her mother offering a $25,000 reward for information and her friends distributing fliers all over the city.

Chris Spotz Shot Himself Dead

The detectives discovered that Adea’s car, a Toyota Tacoma, was missing after realizing it was the exact vehicle used by the couple for their last drive. As they found discrepancies in Chris’ alibi, the police wanted to question him further. But he had left Los Angeles and went to his family home in Colorado with his fiancée, Mary, on March 1. Around three weeks later, Riverside County Sheriff’s officials spotted Chris driving the reportedly stolen Toyota Tacoma near Hesperia on March 22. 

When the officers tried to stop Chris, he led them on a high-speed chase from Hesperia to Corona. According to police sources, the authorities deployed two spike strips, but he swerved past them and transitioned to the westbound Riverside (91) Freeway. As the patrol cars followed, Chris got off the Green River Road freeway and stopped on Rio Vista Street, south of the 91 freeway. When the officers in pursuit attempted a felony traffic stop, he fatally shot himself with a handgun; Chris was reported dead at the scene.

After his death, Chris’ family handed over his phone to the authorities. According to the episode, the investigators traced his Google data to discover he arrived at Adea’s house at around 12:48 PM on February 23, while her phone bill data stopped at 12:50 PM. His digital footprint also showed his presence, where her body would eventually be found in Northern California. Nonetheless, Adea’s homicide case remains unsolved to date, and no one has been charged or convicted.

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