TOP STORIES OF 2019: LA actress’ death tops most read stories online |

TOP STORIES OF 2019: LA actress’ death tops most read stories online

The readers of The Union have proven they have a thirst for news. At the time of this writing (Dec. 20), The Union’s website had received 4,528,770 page views in 2019.

Three of the top five most read stories online in 2019 centered on the death of a community member or visitor to our county. However, a tough “cowgirl” who showed off her grit also made the list, as did the infamous story about local swimming holes.

Check out the list of the top five most read stories online below:

Adea Shabani

1. Nevada County authorities release cause of death in Adea Shabani homicide

Adea Shabani, 25, was an actress living in Los Angeles. On March 26, her remains were found in the Spenceville Wildlife Area. Authorities ruled her death a homicide and determined she died from “massive blunt force injuries to the head,” Chief Deputy Coroner Mike Sullivan said.

LA police pointed to Christopher Spotz, 33, as a suspect in her death. Spotz, also an actor, killed himself March 23 after a police chase ended in Riverside County.

The case again gained attention this year after it was featured in a podcast, and news organizations like Newsweek covered Shabani’s death.

2. Rattlesnake bite leaves Nevada County woman unfazed

Nevada County was introduced to one tough cowgril back in March, when Dawn Podesta was bitten by a rattle snake.

“I don’t have fear,” Podesta said. “I’ve been through so much in my life,” including having been ejected through her front car windshield, and having been bedridden with a retroviral infection.”

After her bite, she did “what every good cowgirl would do,” she said, describing how she scurried back into her mother’s home, sucked out the venomous blood from her finger and wrapped a tourniquet around her arm.

Crystal Ashworth was found deceased in her tuck.
Photo courtesy Buffy Hale

3. Woman missing since Sunday found deceased in wreck

In October, Crystal Dean Ashworth, 63, left Uncle Sonny’s bar one evening to go to a friend’s house. She was found deceased days later.

“She went through the guardrail and down the embankment, about 300 feet,” Nevada County Sheriff’s Detective Andrew Liller said.

Caltrans had repaired the guardrail after the crash had occurred, Liller said. Caltrans didn’t know there had been a crash and Ashworth’s truck was not visible from the roadway, Liller said.

The Douglas family from Nevada County enjoys the Yuba River at Purdon Crossing Bridge in Nevada City Thursday afternoon.
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

4. Five Yuba River swimming holes to beat the summer heat in western Nevada County

Few summer pursuits are as enjoyable for Nevada County residents and visitors as a day out on the Yuba River.

This story was written back in 2016, but finds its way into the top stories lists every summer. It is also the story that gets us in the most trouble (just read the comments on Facebook).

This list includes Bridgeport, the Highway 49 bridge, Jones Bar, Purdon Crossing and Edward’s Crossing as great places to swim in western Nevada County.

Mitchell Glass

5. Nevada City man dies in Highway 20 wreck

2019 started on a tragic note. On January 1, Mitchell Glass, 20, was partially ejected from his Jeep as it ran off Highway 20 and overturned, authorities said.

Glass died of blunt force injuries. His death is considered accidental, Mike Sullivan, chief deputy coroner, said

His obituary can be found here.

Digital Engagement Editor Samantha Sullivan contributed to this report.

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