Who Is Adea Shanbani? New Podcast Investigates Her Murder

Adea Shabani was hoping to become an actress. Instead, she was murdered. Who was she?

Who is Adea Shanbani? New Podcast Investigates Her Murder Instagram

Adea Shabani came to L.A. to pursue the dream of becoming a professional film actor. She enrolled in classes at the Stella Adler School of Acting and set about going her craft and learning the business. However, something went very wrong in 2018.

On Feb. 23, 2018, Shabani gathered two suitcases, walked out of her apartment with her boyfriend Christopher Spotz, and disappeared. Her boyfriend claimed he didn’t know what had happened but the police wanted to take to him more thoroughly. Rather than comply, Spotz fled and, after a high-speed chase, shot himself in the head.


Shortly after Spotz killed himself, Shabani’s body was found in a shallow grave 400 miles away. Police still don’t know who killed her or why.

Who is Adea Shabani? Read on to learn more.

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1. Early life

Adea Shabani was born in Macedonia and attended an international school in Skopje, the Macedonian capital. For college, she moved to France to study business at the American University of Paris, where she graduated in 2014. She spent at least a little time working in Dubai after college but ultimately she decided to move to L.A. Neighbors in L.A. had warm things to say about her with.


“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.”

2. Acting student

In L.A., Shabini enrolled at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting, the same school where luminaries like Mark Ruffalo and Benico Del Torro studied. A friend told Dateline that “She was very serious about her career. And I know she wanted to finish school to be well prepared.”

The acting school was where she met her on-again-off-again boyfriend Chris Spotz and started dating him.



A post shared by Robert Ropars (@robertropars) on Mar 28, 2018 at 5:27pm PDT

3. Bad boyfriend

The relationship with Spotz was not exactly a fairy tale romance. Spotz was engaged to another woman and he was reluctant to break off that relationship. Shabani knew about Spitz’s fiancé and that may have been why she agreed to keep the relationship secret.

They never told classmates at the acting school that they were involved.


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4. Disappeared

On Feb. 23, 2018, security footage in Shabani’s building shows her and Spotz in the elevator, presumably preparing to leave the building. Both were wearing baseball caps and Shabani had two suitcases with her. About that same time, she texted a friend and that was the last communication anyone got from her.


She typically stayed in close touch with friends and family during the day and they began to grow worried when she stopped messaging them later that day. Two days later, she was officially reported missing and the LAPD began their investigation.



A post shared by ABC7 Southern California (@abc7la) on Mar 27, 2018 at 10:54pm PDT

5. Search

One police went to her apartment, they realized that something was wrong. Her door was unlocked, which was very unusual and her computer appeared to have been used hours after she stopped communicating with friends and family.


They spoke to Spotz at the time and he claimed the pair had been planning a trip to Northern California together. He said that shortly into the drive, they had had an argument and he let Shabani out of the car in Santa Clarita. He insisted he never saw her after that but police were unable to verify his alibi.



A post shared by Fred Parvaneh (@fredparvaneh) on Mar 6, 2018 at 1:44pm PST

6. Suicide

Spotz left town after his initial questioning. Police put an alert on his car — which had turned out to be stolen — and eventually spotted him several weeks later in San Bernardino. The police started to chase him and Spotz fled for 60 miles. Before police could stop him, he shot himself in the head.


There was allegedly another person in the car but no one knows who that person was or what information they may have shared with police.

7. Body recovered

Even with Spotz dead, the search for Shabani continued. On March 27, police confirmed that a body found in a shallow grave in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains was her. They said she had died of blunt force trauma to the skull.



A post shared by Memorial Tributes (@instamemorials) on Apr 6, 2018 at 4:19am PDT

At this time, police still consider Shabani’s death a homicide, though no suspects have been arrested to charged. A new podcast called To Live and Die in L.A. is tracing the history of the case with the hopes of shedding new light on what may have happened to Adea Shabani. 

“This podcast is for the victims of this story and those who love them,” Host Neil Strauss said. “I hope to bring them the answers and the closure they deserve after so much pain and uncertainty. There are a lot of problems with procedure after a person goes missing. 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.”


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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.