Joann Albanese was a divorced mother of two teenage children and came from a close knit family.
She lived in Las Vegas and worked at the MGM Grand when she met a man named John Edwards, a fitness instructor. Before long, the two were soon an item.
The man known then as John Edwards is not someone that those who knew Joann Albanese thought she would end up with.
Although he was good looking and obviously in shape, he was not very settled in life. He was already in his 40’s, didn’t make a lot of money and he lived in a one room rented room but he could charm almost anyone, at least initially.
Edwards had quite a past that Joann likely did not know about.
The man that she initially thought was a “great catch” was now someone who was essentially living off of her.
That’s because John Edwards was not his real name. His real name was John Addis.
John Addis, at one time back in the 70’s, was a trooper in Alaska. Many people thought highly of him. He was talented in his job and had a mind for forensic science.
He was married and had children. He and his family lived in the wilderness in a cabin without running water and electricity.
There were signs that something was amiss in his personal life. One time a fellow trooper was in the Edwards home and noticed how harshly he spoke to his wife and ordered her around. Then he would resume his conversation in a polite tone with his coworker and friend.
He grew increasingly abusive and one day his wife jumped out of the car and told him she wanted a divorce, and she did indeed divorce him.
He quickly remarried and went from living with no heat or running water to having a very nice lifestyle with wife number two, a police dispatcher, but soon his inner demons reemerged and eventually that marriage ended in divorce as well.
At some point, he quit his job as a trooper, lying to those around him saying, he was going to attend medical school.
Instead, he kidnapped his four children from his first marriage and fled to Michigan, where he was originally from. While there, he was involved in several robberies.
The kids were with him for a year before he was arrested and served a very short stint in prison for parental child abduction.
He jumped his parole in Alaska in 1989 and traveled throughout the United States posing as a fitness instructor as well as a screen writer and novelist and managed to elude authorities, likely committing crimes along the way.
Perhaps because of his law enforcement background, he was quite skilled at changing his identity.
Then he met Joann Albanese in Las Vegas in 1995 at a local gym.
Their romance quickly became serious and Addis’ true personality began to come out.
He went from being sweet and caring to very controlling and possessive.
So possessive that he reportedly wouldn’t let Joann go to the bathroom without him.
Dottie Wells, Joann Albanese’s sister took an instant dislike to the man she knew as John Edwards. She said,
The day Joanne walked in with him, I thought, ‘This guy is trouble
It seems that Joann figured it out too and was reportedly planning on breaking up with him. She was going to meet him for dinner, in a public place, to end their relationship.
And then Joann Albanese was gone.
Her ex-husband dropped the kids off at the her house that fateful day in August, 1995 and her children could not find her. Her car was gone and she was not in the house.
Authorities were called and the search was on for Joann Albanese.
Edwards car was parked in Albanese’s driveway. Family members searched the car and found clues pointing to his true identify – John Addis.
Three days after she was reported missing, her car was found in Arizona.
At that time. there was speculation that Edwards, now identified as Addis, had killed Albanese and fled to Mexico although some in law enforcement thought that she might have left willingly, which her family knew was not true.
In 1998, nearly three years after Albanese’s disappearance, the statute of limitations for kidnapping was about to expire and a grand jury indictment was secured charging Edwards with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree murder, even though there was no body.
In October 9, 1998, just months after the indictment, Joann Albanese’s remains were found in Arizona not far from where her car was found and John Addis was charged, in absentia, with first degree kidnapping and murder.
Unfortunately the speculation about him being in Mexico turned out to be true.
He fled to Mexico and met a woman named Laura Liliana Padilla in 1997.
She was 26 and apparently fell head over heels in love with the much older Edwards and ran off with him.
They had two children together and Padilla never contacted her family, likely upon the orders of Edwards, who more than likely was controlling Padilla.
Edwards had no problem finding work and was working at a local Gold’s Gym in Guadalajara, Mexico, using the first name John but, of course, a different last name.
A tip was called into Geraldo Rivera who had profiled the Abanese case when a tragic mistake was made.
Instead of show producer’s contacting authorities with the information from the tip, they contacted the family of Joann Albanese with the information.
Show producers are not supposed to ever contact family members with that type of information meant for law enforcement since civilians, especially family members of those who have been murdered, can let their emotions get in the way and are simply not trained to handle sensitive, fugitive matters.
Albanese’s family said they when they could not get a hold of authorities, they called the gym in Mexico themselves.
A female family member of Albanese’s spoke to someone at the gym with a made up a story of being an old girlfriend and was told that there was a John there.
The staffer, of course, told Addis about the call and a visibly shaken and spooked Edwards disappeared the next day before he could have likely been apprehended.
The story ends in October, 2006 when John Edwards’ dead body was discovered in a hotel room in Guatemala City.
There were some items found in the room leading authorities to believe that he may have committed suicide although the official cause of death has been ruled a heart attack.
Within days of Addis’ death, the bodies of his wife, Laura Liliana Padilla, and their two children were found in Guadalajara, Mexico bringing John Addis’ one man killing show to a total of four people murdered, with Joann Albanese being the first victim.
John Addis was 64.