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Episode 7

Family Ties



15  •  So Much Hate

16  •  The Damn Has Broken

17  •  Never Have Peace


Neil begins to see this case from another perspective as a new theory emerges.


Unfortunately, I can’t confirm any details regarding that at this time. This remains an active investigation.

Jayden Brant, Private Investigator


You need to be careful Neil as a reporter, you need to be careful. You don’t want them after you.

Jade, Chris Spotz’s Mother



VO: The events in the following episode took place on March 23 and March 24, 2018.

NS-VO: I’m going to count you down into this episode. Five. It’s been five months since Adea Shabani began dating Chris Spotz before taking her final road trip with him. Four. It’s been exactly four weeks since Adea disappeared. Three. It’s been three weeks since Adea’s family asked me to help and expose the story. Two. It’s been two weeks since I’ve been on the trail of Adea’s boyfriend, Chris Spotz. One. It’s been one day since Chris Spotz apparently shot himself after a 60 mile police chase. Zero. I have almost no time left before the story breaks in the news and my window into Chris’ world breaks with it.

Adea’s loved ones are counting on me to find answers because no one, not even the police, have gotten this far with Chris’ inner circle. And I’m praying that if Chris is responsible for Adea’s disappearance, that the truth didn’t die with him. 

NS-VO: Chapter 15. So Much Hate.

Neil Strauss: Chance said some crazier stuff around that, that he said came from Chris. But I don’t know, it was pretty crazy.

Chris Marez: Well, great, like say one thing and I’ll tell you if it’s true.

Neil Strauss: All right. I’m gonna tell you this, but this is as unbelievable to me as it gonna be to you.

Chris Marez: Okay.

Neil Strauss: Okay.

NS-VO: I’m at Jayden’s house right now and on the phone with Chris Marez, the biological father of Chris Spotz. And what almost nobody knows, not even Chris’ father himself, is that Chris Spotz was on his way, first to Los Angeles for an acting job where he was going to prove his talent to the world; and then after that he was going to drive to Wheaten, California near Sacramento, to visit his father’s home with his friend Chance. The pair had two guns, rope and a tape recorder, and according to Chance, they were prepared to tie up, torture and possibly kill Chris’ father. Because, they claimed, it was not Chris Spotz who was responsible for Adea Shabani’s disappearance. It was actually his father. In my mind, I’m thinking that Chris was lying to Chance, trying to get his most loyal friend to help him kill his father and shift the blame for Adea’s disappearance onto his dad.

NS-VO: Chris’ father has been very cooperative with Jayden and I throughout this. So I want to let him know what’s going on and see if he has any other information that may help find Adea.

Neil Strauss: He said-

Chris Marez: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Neil Strauss: … Dude, and I know you’ve had a brutal fucking 24 hours so I don’t want to even add this to it, and again, keep this between us. But Chance said that Chris thought that somehow you were involved and he was going to LA to do this part and then he was gonna come home with Chance to confront you.

Chris Marez: What part?

continue reading

Neil Strauss: Oh, this acting role in LA

Chris Marez: He was gonna go do this and come, what was he gonna do? What was he gonna say to me? I don’t, that doesn’t make sense. That’s weird. That’s fucking weird.

Neil Strauss: Obviously the bull shit, yeah.

Chris Marez: What the fuck?

Neil Strauss: Yeah.

Chris Marez: What? That doesn’t even make sense. What? I mean, that’s strange. That’s like fucking crazy shit. Okay, that’s funny. No, it is. To me it’s funny. Like, what the fuck? They’re gonna talk to me about what? That doesn’t even-

Neil Strauss: Chance was saying that Chris was saying that you had done it. That you were responsible.

Chris Marez: What?

Neil Strauss: Chance said that Chris was saying that.

Chris Marez: Well. This is what I will tell you. This is what he did say to me about Adea. He said exactly, she is just like my mom. Crazy as fuck. He said that’s why he never dated anybody like my mom, and he couldn’t get away from her because she’s always … He hates his mom, but he always wanted. He only wanted to kill his mom. But he loves her. He loves her more and he hates her. You know what I’m saying? And he told me that.

NS-VO: As we’re listening to Chris Marez, Jayden tries frantically to get my attention.

Chris Marez: Okay, he never said that. The LA County detectives treated him with respect. They came, they said this is what we got. They got that signed from the judge and I’m thinking this is crazy shit, you know. And they’re looking through my whole property and they found a hole that was dug, but I think it was from one of the dogs.

NS-VO: Jayden hands me a note. It reads, “He’s avoiding the question.”

Chris Marez: And I’m like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” I don’t know. He was so angry at me. That’s the reason I’m thinking, “My fucking son came up here, killed this girl. Buried on her on my fucking land.” I’m thinking that in my head, because after the detective told me, I’m thinking you don’t even know what I was thinking. Like that was-

NS-VO: Though this isn’t the answer I’m looking for, the story Chris’ father is telling is pretty interesting. Detectives showed up at his home with a warrant and investigated a suspicious looking hole that was dug on his property. Chris’ father says he believes it was dug by his dogs. I make a note to explore that further. But he still hasn’t responded to Chance’s accusation. So I try another approach.

Neil Strauss: Do you think he said that to Chance? And why do you think he would say something like that to Chance if he did?

Chris Marez: I don’t think he said that, but he had said a lot of shit to his friends, to his brother, you know, that he was so angry at me. But like I said, I never met any of his girlfriends. I never met Mary. I’ve never met any of his girlfriends. And that’s what’s crazy, because he’s always kept them from a distance from me because I think it was like I said, the insecurity. I think he was afraid, in his head, thinking that they’re gonna like me. No, no, no. But that’s some crazy shit. No, no, dude. Come on. I mean I don’t even know this girl. I’ve never met this girl. I didn’t even know they had, I didn’t know it was this bad. To be honest with you. I thought it was like, “Oh he’s trying to be with her. Be with her.” I didn’t know it was gonna get to this extent, what the fuck? This girl’s gonna be missing, my son is dead? This is like, unreal shit.

Chris Marez: But my son would make up shit. My son was a good storyteller. He could tell you shit, what happened, once you get the truth, it’s like bent to the fucking left. You know, it’s like, “Holy shit. This is some …” You know he added it to juice it up a little bit, to make it a little bit better, you know. And that’s what he did.

NS-VO: What’s going through my head right now is that when I first called Chris Marez, he was saying the nicest things about his son. But after I told him that his son believed that he was responsible for Adea’s disappearance, suddenly Chris Marez has changed his tune and is throwing his son under the bus.

Neil Strauss: So I’m gonna tell you the rest of what Chance said. Chance said that, “We were gonna go back.” He said, “I’m gonna tie,” This is talking about you, and again, please keep this between us, okay?

Chris Marez: Yeah.

Neil Strauss: He said, “I’m gonna go back. We’re gonna tie him up and we’re gonna torture him and we’re gonna find out where he put Adea, even if we have to kill him.” That’s what Chance said Chris said. So what I’m-

Chris Marez: He said that?

Neil Strauss: That’s what Chance said Chris said. So I’m gonna ask you now-

Neil Strauss: Jayden looks at me. I look at him. That laugh.

Neil Strauss: Do you think that he was gonna try to get Chance to do this with him? Did he have that much anger?

Chris Marez: Still, so you just confirmed that, that he still had that hate. See what he was gonna do? He was gonna do. He was gonna kill … You know what? I’ll be honest with you, every time he’d come and see me and when he stayed with me, I was … I thought maybe he was gonna poison me, he was gonna put shit into my alcohol when I’d come home and have a drink at night. I had that feeling, I’ll be honest with you, because he had so much hate. But that confirms. He probably did say that to Chance, and you know what the sad part about it is? He never told me he did anything like that, all he told me, he dropped her off. But in my head I thought this many times, that he was gonna do that. When they dug that hole out there, I’m thinking, “My son tried to do this.” But see, the craziest thing is, like I told the detectives, I said, “You would think he would say something to me.” He didn’t say to me anything. Anything about anything, you know what I’m saying? And that’s what’s crazy about this.

Chris Marez: And you tell me that Chance said they were gonna come and kill me? Holy shit.

Neil Strauss: He said not that they were gonna come and kill you, they were gonna come and tie you up and they were gonna do, I don’t know whether they said beat you or whatever it was ’til they got the truth out of you, even if it meant killing you.

Chris Marez: Are you shitting me?

Neil Strauss: And again, and I’m sorry to share that information with you.

Chris Marez: No, no, no. I’m glad you did, because no, no, no. Dude, I had that. I had that in my … And I’ll be honest with you, if he had the chance, he would probably try to kill me or kill me in some way because he had such anger. He just had so much anger. I didn’t know he had that much anger, but it seems like he … That’s pretty fucking crazy when you tell somebody you’re gonna do that.

NS-VO: I hang up with Chris’s father and feel completely confused. I began the call thinking that Chris Spotz was feeding his friend Chance a false story so he could torture a confession out of his father and then kill him, thus exonerating himself. Now, I’m not so sure and I’m torn between three different scenarios.

One is that Chris Spotz did something to Adea on the way to Sacramento, then shot himself to avoid facing the consequences of his actions. The second is that Adea did something to herself to get back at Chris. But frankly, the more I learned, the harder I’m finding that to believe. I don’t think Adea was even obsessed with Chris. I think she was obsessed with getting Chris to tell her the truth and decide who he wanted to commit to. The third is that Chris Marez, Chris’ father, is somehow involved and what’s really odd here is not only did he keep avoiding the question of his guilt, but he never for a moment defended his son. In fact, after I told him what Chance had said, he went from saying that his son is a great kid that has never had a parking ticket in his life to saying that Chris is a hateful, homicidal maniac who was going to poison his own dad and kill his own mother.

NS-VO: Chapter 16. The Dam Has Broken.

Jayden Brandt: Call me anytime and I’ll get you right away. Bye.

Jayden Brandt: So now that Venus is talking to friends.

Neil Strauss: What friends?

Jayden Brandt: She said her friends say she’s no longer alive.

Neil Strauss: But her friends don’t know that.

Jayden Brandt: I know, it’s stupid. I mean, I’m just gonna tell her it’s my job to be optimistic. I can’t confirm that.

Neil Strauss: Yeah, well you can just say, like, nobody knows. Like you really can’t run with that, because nobody knows.

Jayden Brandt: So wait. So somebody, one other person I know, she said, “Hey,” She said, “Our station…” Oh shit. Somebody just broke it.

Neil Strauss: All right. Yeah. I-

Jayden Brandt: That was my friend, she just called. She said, “I gotta run it.” She said everybody’s breaking it now.

Newscaster: It’s still a mystery what happened to 25-year old Adea Shabani, now a twist: sources say a man she was romantically involved with killed himself last night after leading authorities on a chase from Hisperia to Corona. The Toyota Tacoma he was driving was linked to a crime in LA County. CHP says the car was believed to be used in a homicide, but wouldn’t confirm details.

Jayden Brandt: In that story, they did not name him.

Neil Strauss: All right, so-

Jayden Brandt: But there’s three news stories here, but there’s nothing on him.

Neil Strauss: What do you mean there’s nothing on him? Oh, they don’t say his name?

Jayden Brandt: They’re not naming him.

Audio: Jayden Brandt is a private investigator for the Shabani family.

Jayden Brandt: And unfortunately, I can’t confirm any details regarding that at this time, it just remains an active investigation.

NS-VO: I originally gone to Jayden’s to wait for Chance to call so we could go meet him in Riverside. But with still no word from Chance, I start driving home. But as I’m in the car talking to Jayden about Chris Marez and that very strange phone call, my phone rings. I look down and see it’s from Jade Spotz, Chris’ mother. I haven’t even spoken to Chris’ mother yet. So I wonder what she could possibly be calling about and what she knows?

Jade Spotz: Hello?

Neil Strauss: Oh hey Jade, it’s Neil. I thought … Did you just call me accidentally, or?

Jade Spotz: No. I mean, there are just a couple of things I want you to know. One is the police just kept harassing us, harassing Chris. The LAPD, they came here to Colorado even and he had an attorney that had spoke with them several times, saying, “If you want to meet with Chris, give me a time and I will take him to you.”

Neil Strauss: You’re kidding.

Jade Spotz: No.

Jack: How were you even involved? That’s so amazing. Is their family pushing for all of this press? We don’t know how that’s happening. 

NS-VO: That other voice belongs to Chris’ stepfather, Jack.

Neil Strauss: I originally got involved because another case happened to somebody in my neighborhood and I started to looking into it and seeing all these problems with the police.

NS-VO: I tell Chris’ mother and stepfather the whole story of how Adea’s mother asked me to help. When your child goes missing, you do everything you can to find them. You place your hopes in the police. You hire a private investigator. You get your friends and family involved. But the LAPD is overwhelmed with 3,900 missing persons reports a year and is limited by government procedure and budget. A private investigator is expensive and friends and family can only do so much.

Neil Strauss: So Adea’s mother thought a journalist could help get the word out and ultimately help find Adea.

Neil Strauss: There’s a lot of things that don’t fit.

Jade Spotz: Yeah, exactly.

Jack: Did Jade tell you? They would only call at like 3:30 in the morning when we were dead asleep to try to catch Jade completely off-guard. You know, there’s a reason they don’t call at 3:30 in the afternoon. We don’t know what that is, but it’s the technique that they were using to try to trip anybody up.

Jade Spotz: They even came here after he had the attorney, and showed up at night, of course, after the sun was down and they … I invited them in, I said, “I have nothing to hide from you guys, but our attorney has already said how corrupt you are.” And they lied repeatedly and said our attorney had never contacted them. And I said, “That’s a lie because I spoke with her today and she told me over three times that she’s reached out to you guys.”

NS-VO: It seems clear from speaking to Chris’ mom Jade, that she feels her son was not a perpetrator but a victim and that in her mind, it wasn’t guilt that lead to his death but fear of the police. I haven’t personally experienced the LAPD as scary so far. If anything, they’ve been cooperative with Jayden and receptive to any information we’ve brought them. I’m surprised that Jade is calling me considering the amount of grief she must be in, but I’m sure she wants to know the truth as much as Adea’s family does. I tell Jade that I don’t know what the truth is but I promise that I will find it out. She then shares this warning, and I’m not sure who it’s referring to, but I can tell this family is scared.

Jade Spotz: You need to be careful Neil as a reporter, you need to be careful. You don’t want them after you.

Neil Strauss: Are there other inconsistencies or things that I should kind of look into?

Jade Spotz: Right now, that’s all I can think of, but if something comes up, I will call you.

Neil Strauss: Great and I want to give you guys a heavy warning that the media have been calling, asking for names, asking for this kind of stuff. So just, I don’t know what to say, you’ve already been through like the hardest 24 hours, so get ready for just another, you know, rough time. But I really, I don’t know what people are gonna say. I don’t know what the police are gonna say, but yeah, I just want to kind of give you a head’s up.

Jade Spotz: All right.

Neil Strauss: Of the time.

Jade Spotz: Thank you. Thanks.

Neil Strauss: Bye.

NS-VO: It’s been an intense day. Just about everyone has opened up and everyone appears to want to know the truth. The problem is that everyone has a different story. They all seem to have these puzzle pieces, however a lot of the puzzle pieces just don’t fit. In fact, everything we know implicating Chris Spotz is actually circumstantial evidence. Even though we’ve been so focused on him, there’s no proof yet that he did this and that Adea is in fact dead as the news is reporting.

While I’ve been on the phone with Chris’ mom, one of Jayden’s reporter friends calls him and says, “The dam has broken. The story’s out there now.”

Jayden Brandt: They’re naming Chris Spotz as a suspect who was being … She says that they confirmed that he was being arrested for homicide, or for you know, homicide. That’s what they were pulling him over for. I doubt that.

Newscaster: Startling new developments regarding a missing model. For the first time, the connection between her boyfriend, a deadly pursuit and an apparent love triangle.

Newscaster: Robert Kovacic is live in Hollywood tonight where the model lived, with new details you’ll only hear about here.

Newscaster: NBC4 has learned that when this 25-year old model left her apartment here on Wilcox Avenue in Hollywood, she may not have done so willingly. She was with her boyfriend, but did she know he was leading a double life?

Newscaster: Chris Spotz shot himself at the end of a high speed pursuit last night near Corona. He was the alleged suspect in the murder of a 25-year old model and aspiring actress from Macedonia. We don’t yet know the name of the passenger with Spotz, but we’ve learned the 33-year old has just returned to southern California from Colorado where he was with his fiance. As for his girlfriend, Adea Shabani reported missing on February 23rd.

Newscaster: NBC4 has learned four days later, Adea’s friends went to the LAPD and recounted an anonymous phone call received the night before on February 26th. The caller told them they observed the missing placed in a bed of a truck by her boyfriend and that she appeared to be “drugged and in danger.” The LAPD contacted Spotz soon after, who hung up on them and turned off his phone. Inside his pickup truck last night, Chris Spotz took his own life.

NS-VO: And so Chris Spotz’s name is now out there. For those who’ve been listening closely to this podcast, it’s worth correcting a few errors in the news reports to avoid any confusion. From here on, anything in the news needs to be sort of taken with a grain of salt. First of all, as we know, Adea did not leave the apartment unwillingly. She left willingly thinking she was going to the funeral of Chris’ uncle. Adea knew that Chris Spotz was leading a double life and she knew all about his fiance, Mary. Adea was not in the bed of the truck and she was not drugged when she left her apartment. Those came from a false tip.

Chris Spotz was not in Colorado with Mary. Mary was already back in LA, as we know. And finally, Chris Spotz did not hang up on the LAPD. According to Mary, they had an eight minute phone call and that was before Chris hired a lawyer. But the overall point remains true, Chris Spotz, the person of interest in Adea Shabani’s disappearance, is now dead. Adea Shabani is still missing. And Chance, the guy who was in the car with Chris and is probably is our best shot of finding out where Adea is, has disappeared. There’s a lot to be done.

NS-VO: Chapter 17. You’ll Never Have Peace.

NS-VO: The next morning, I spent hours just thinking about everything and talking to people, trying to make sense of everything that’s happened in the last day. I’ve been so upset with the police for not arresting Chris Spotz if they were so sure it was him. But the long and short of it is that the police were never going to arrest Chris Spotz without a body or definitive proof that he was involved, which they evidently don’t have. There’s still been no word from Chance. I worry for a moment that maybe he’s done something reckless, like gone to finish what he and Chris had started, so I try him again. Fortunately, he answers.

Neil Strauss: How are you doing today, man?

Chance: Oh, I’m better today, dude. Yesterday was fucking rough, bro. Like that whole thing didn’t hit me and I didn’t get any sleep and I went and bought a bottle of whiskey and just cried and drank all day. So I am quite a bit better today, but … I went through a grief stage, but now it’s just kind of all sinking in.

NS-VO: As tough a time as he’s had, Chance seems like he’s doing better today. Of the course of the conversation, he’s actually able to clear up a number of lingering questions.

Neil Strauss: Chris’ mom told me that when they pulled over the truck, they were saying it’s a stolen vehicle. Is that right?

Chance: Yeah, that is right, bro. They lied to me the whole time they had me in custody, saying it was a stolen vehicle and they needed to know the name of the driver. But I heard it come over the radio as the truck came back registered to Chris Spotz. So I was like, “That’s fucking bullshit. Dude, you dumb ass, you didn’t even turn down the radio. I just heard them fucking tell you it’s registered to Chris Spotz. How’s it stolen?” The fucking cop that had me was this young dipshit dude, and he was like, “Well, I, I, I.” He didn’t even know what the fuck to say to that. So I said, “I’m not saying shit dude.” So yep. Now, but then later, it says that it was a glitch in the system and it came back as actually it wasn’t stolen. And then I heard them say that the license plate came back as connected to a homicide or some shit like that. They didn’t know what the fuck. They were just lying through their asses the whole time, dude. It’s really fucking weird how he got pulled over. Super weird.

Chance: We didn’t do anything wrong.

Neil Strauss: I was asking them, did he say anything about Mary near the end? What do I tell her then?

Chance: Oh yeah, dude, all the time. He was so distraught. Like time and time again, he told me what a good girl she was, what a great person she was and he just fucking hated himself for fucking it up. I mean, he explained to me his mommy issues, which made him like, want to love and be with Mary, but like, other girls be, like he couldn’t commit to one girl kind of thing.

Neil Strauss: Yeah, no, I know.

Chance: He was like really psychologically adept. He was real good at all that shit.

Neil Strauss: Yeah.

NS-VO: What’s also interesting is that Chance tells me that Chris and his friend, Brian, who I spoke briefly with after hearing the news about Chris, had a falling out. That makes having a real conversation with Brian more of a priority for me. I’ve bleeped out Brian’s real name here.

Chance: Like he told me some real crazy shit that, oh man, like I probably don’t want to say this, but like his original thing, like when he came to Colorado Springs, we went out to eat and he says, “Man, everybody’s turned their back on me … won’t talk to me. Robby won’t talk to me. None of my friend in LA will talk to me, like, I’m fucking, I’m out here doing this thing all by myself. Shit, my grandma and you are the only fucking people that’ll talk to me.” I don’t know, dude. Chris told me … was just had become real judgemental and real, you know, like critical of everything. And Chris said, “I knew you would be the one motherfucker to ride with me on this.” He said, “Dude, I had a feeling and I was right.”

Chance: He also told me a story that it was a couple days after she went missing, he was asleep and he like felt a presence on top of him and his whole body started tingling and like he heard this whisper and her voice and it said, “You’ll never have peace.”

NS-VO: I wonder if the nightmare was a prophecy or an indication of a guilty conscience. While I’ve been on the phone with Chance, Jayden has been trying to reach me.

Neil Strauss: Hey man, what’s happening? I just saw you called.

Jayden Brandt: Oh no, I was just calling because I just got off CNN.

Neil Strauss: Oh, shit.

Jayden Brandt: Yeah, I just wanted to give you a head’s up. I mean, they’re putting the whole thing together.

Neil Strauss: Right.

Jayden Brandt: Just so you know, like as you talk to the family, I mean they know about him. They know about the fiance. They know he was up in Colorado. They know he had a friend in the car. It’s only a matter of time before they start running his acting reel. One of the guys was talking to me about that, saying, you know, “Have you seen this guy’s acting reel. It’s like real life. The guy’s running around with a gun talking about he’s gonna kill everybody.”

Neil Strauss: Oh, so yeah, yeah. I hear what you’re saying. All of this stuff gonna eventually come out. 

Jayden Brandt: Yeah, they’re gonna be at Mary’s front door pretty quick here I think.

NS-VO: I ask Jayden if there’s been any news about the search for Adea in the Lake of the Woods area, where police believe that Chris stopped for 40 minutes on the way to Sacramento. He tells me there’s been no update and it’s still off the radar of the media. So no one really knows where she is.

Neil Strauss: So what are they planning to do, like an article? A news segment? Or what are they planning to do?

Jayden Brandt: Oh no, it was live.

Neil Strauss: Oh, it was live.

Jayden Brandt: Yeah. Ashley Manfield, Crime and Justice. I mean she did, you know, half a show on it.

Neil Strauss: Right, did they have anything that you didn’t know?

Jayden Brandt: No. Yeah, they had some attorney on the segment with me and she’s on there going, “It’s game over for this guy. He’s definitely guilty.” I mean, they just sensationalize it.

Neil Strauss: Yeah, my question is what happens now. Are they still gonna investigate? Do they care who did it anymore?

Jayden Brandt: I don’t know.

Neil Strauss: Yeah.

Jayden Brandt: Because she’s talking about, you know, “We’re receiving information that somebody said that she was put into the back of the truck.” And they’re talking about like that’s what initiated the chase. So they don’t have that quite right. I mean, I did correct them. You know, I’m trying to correct things that have already been stated.

Neil Strauss: Right.

Jayden Brandt: And I stated that that was tip that was received very early on and that was, you know. But anyways.

Neil Strauss: All right, so maybe I’ll … You know what, maybe we’ll reach out to the family and Mary, give Mary a head’s up.

Jayden Brandt: Yeah, I would just say, you know it looks like it’s getting out there pretty quick. Because it’s only gonna be a matter of time before Mary’s name is out there.

Neil Strauss: Yeah.

Jayden Brandt: They don’t care.

Neil Strauss: All right. I’ll give Mary a head’s up.

Neil Strauss: But before I can call Mary, she calls me.

Mary: Hello? Hey, Neil?

Neil Strauss: Did something just happen? Are you okay?

Mary: No, I mean, you know, it comes and goes.

Neil Strauss: Yeah. Yeah, I’ve been thinking about you a lot. But I’ll let you start. Did you call about something specific?

Mary: I don’t know. I don’t think … Oh yeah, you wanted to know what series that he was supposed to film.

Neil Strauss: Yeah. 

Mary: It’s called Shoaks, S-H-O-A-K-S.

Neil Strauss: Great.

Mary: And I was only able to find an email contact.

Neil Strauss: Okay, great, that works. Oh, I was gonna tell you that from what I hear, CNN has been really, you know, is really is like really pounding down the doors on this story, so you know, there’s a chance that your name might start to leak out in the next day or so. So just get ready.

Mary: Okay. I’m, I know I lived a simple life, and this is all just so surreal.

NS-VO: We talk about Chance, whom Mary still hasn’t spoken with. And I pass on the message that Chris felt bad about how he’d messed things up with her. Mary said she forgave Chris and then we talked about what people who knew Chris had been saying about him.

Mary: I assume also his father has not been saying nice things about him. I’m hearing more and more stories about him and oh, the more I hear, the more that I think that he probably had everything to do with this.

Neil Strauss: When I’ve talked to him, he’s always been on the fence. He’ll say positive things, then negative things. He’ll say he thinks Chris did it, then he’ll say he thinks Chris could never. He kind of, he just goes to both. He plays both sides of it, it seems like.

Mary: He does and there’s nothing negative about Chris. Like I’m sure everything that he said has been a lie. He told me the same story about him having full custody, but nothing to do that he was beating his mother, leaving knives in her bed. Going after her, threatening her multiple times. Breaking into their house. Like, it just, the list goes on and on. I know Chris told me she’s at least called him twice, looking for my Chris because she couldn’t get ahold of him. I know my Chris.

Neil Strauss: Yeah.

Mary: I know him. He didn’t do it. All this I know are lies. And I think Jade had mentioned if you wanted to talk to some people at his service, just listen, because we were gonna have an open mic, sort of just to talk about Chris.

Neil Strauss: That would be great.

Mary: That she would be open to doing that. I’ll double check with her again.

Neil Strauss: Okay. And obviously, is it, I would assume it’s in Colorado? Or it’s in LA?

Mary: It is. It’s gonna be in Colorado on Saturday.

Neil Strauss: Okay. I’ll just leave that open and then let me know. I mean, obviously I’m not gonna show up at anything where I’m not invited as a guest of the family, of course. Okay.

Mary: Right, yeah.

NS-VO: I tell Mary, just to be clear, that I’m not assuming anything about Chris. I’m just trying to find out what happened to Adea. But Mary is so convinced of Chris’ innocence that she makes a generous offer. One so powerful, that it will ultimately prove with 100% certainty whether Chris was involved in Adea’s disappearance or not.

NS-VO: Coming up on To Live and Die in LA.

Neil Strauss: Hi, is there where they bring the truck to?

Speaker 11: What kind of truck is it?

Neil Strauss: It’s a Tacoma, 2015. 

Neil Strauss: What does that mean when it’s all plastic wrapped?

Speaker 11: It’s under investigation.

Neil Strauss: Oh, it’s under investigation.

Jayden Brandt: I can pretty much say he was shot this way.

Neil Strauss: Really?

Jayden Brandt: You have a lot of blood over here, blood down here. You have no blood except for this right here.

Jayden Brandt: Well, I mean just think about it. If the bullet is exiting this window, well first of all, nobody shoots themselves four times in the head.

NS-VO: One of the reasons I’m doing this podcast is to specifically ask for information on behalf of both families now involves. So if you know anything about anyone involved, even if it doesn’t appear to relate directly to this case, please email us at or call us at 213-204-2073. We can keep your name and identity completely anonymous if you want. 

NS-VO: This podcast has been a production of Tenderfoot TV and Neil Strauss in conjunction with Cadence 13. Executive producers are Neil Strauss, Donald Albright, and Payne Lindsey. Along with producers Alex Vespestad and Mike Rooney.

NS-VO: The original music and score you’re hearing is by Makeup and Vanity Set. The theme song is by Fleury, it’s called Love and War; and the art and design are by Trevor Eiler. You can find us on social media @livedielapod and our website is

NS-VO: Special thanks to Rich Berner, Kevin Richter, Chris Cochran, Oren Seagal, Brian Fishbach, Ingrid De La O, Oren Rosenbaum at UTA, Resonate and the Nord Group. Thank you for listening, for subscribing and for your feedback.

More Episodes

Episode 8 - Adea
One big break is interrupted by another. The LAPD break their silence.
Episode 9 - Hello, I've Been Watching You
Neil travels to Fort Morgan, Colorado, to attend the funeral, and discovers skeletons (and warrants) in the closet.
Episode 10 - Blood on the Script
Neil and Jayden uncover inconsistencies as they examine the bullet-riddled truck. Based on Google data, they retrace what could have been Adea’s last day step by step.


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