POLICE say a body found dumped in a shallow grave is believed to be that of an aspiring actress and model who went missing in LA last month.
She was last seen leaving her apartment in Hollywood with her boyfriend, 33-year-old Chris Spotz, on February 23. "We can not say that conclusively at this point in time because the conditions of the remains prohibited positive identification", Hayes said at a news conference Tuesday at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) headquarters.
The official added that authorities would need to have the remains positively identified by the Nevada County coroner.
After she was reported missing, police questioned Spotz, who said they were on a road trip to north California when an argument erupted, and that he let her out of the vehicle on the side of a freeway never to see her again. Authorities had not yet commented on any potential link between Spotz's suicide and Shabani's disappearance.
The possible grave was found on the banks of Dry Creek in the Spencerville Wildlife Area, in an area about 50 miles north of Sacramento, according to a statement from the Nevada County Sheriff's Office.
"We can not say that conclusively at this point in time because the condition of the remains prohibited positive identification", he continued, adding that they believed Shabani's boyfriend, Christopher Spotz, was "somehow involved in her death".
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In the weeks during Shabani's disappearance, friends posted fliers in her neighborhood and her family hired a private investigator. They also say he had "just returned to Southern California from Colorado" where he was with his fiancée.
The California Highway Patrol said the pursuit suspect was possibly tied to a homicide in Los Angeles County, but did not elaborate on the case.
He stated that the actual cause of death would only be determined after the results of Wednesday's autopsy.
Shabani, 25, was last seen in Hollywood on February 23. The family had offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to her recovery. Investigators weren't able to verify Spotz's account, he said, prompting Robbery-Homicide detectives to take over the case.
Hayes said a lawyer for Spotz previously told investigators that the pair got into an argument on the same day while driving through Santa Clarita, reported NY Daily News.
An acquaintance of Shabani's fatally shot himself in the head last week.