Remains found in a shallow grave in Northern California this week were positively identified as those of a 25-year-old woman who had been missing since last month, officials confirmed Wednesday.
An autopsy determined that Adea Shabani suffered blunt force trauma and the death was determined to be a homicide, the Nevada County Sheriff's Office said. The exact cause will be "determined after toxicology and tissue analysis," officials said.
Officials used Shabani's tattoos to positively identify her.
The grave site was found on the banks of Dry Creek in the Spencerville Wildlife Area, in an area about 50 miles north of Sacramento, officials said Tuesday. The Los Angeles Police Department contacted law enforcement officials there on Monday to notify them that they were working an active missing persons case in the area.
LAPD and sheriff's office investigators, along with anthropologists from Cal State Chico, responded to the scene and found the remains.
The LAPD said investigators believed the remains were those of Shabani, and that a 33-year-old man with whom she had an intimate relationship, Christopher Spotz, was a person of interest in her disappearance and ultimate death.
Spotz, however, fatally shot himself last Thursday off the 91 Freeway in Riverside County after a lengthy police chase.
He was believed to be the last person to see Shabani alive after surveillance video showed them both in an elevator in her Hollywood apartment building on Feb. 23.
Spotz had previously told detectives that he and Shabani were driving to Northern California when they got into an argument and he dropped her off along a road in Santa Clarita. L.A. police said there was no evidence to back up that story.
Detectives with the elite LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division are continuing work to figure out the series of events that led to Shabani’s death.