I made some more efforts using terminal. I was able to find the running adobe character process in terminal despite it not appearing in the Activity Monitor list. I used the kill command to stop the process. When I ran the list again in terminal, character animator no long showed to be a running application. BUT.. I was still unable to launch character animator and it still appeared in my Force Quit window.
My computer still refuses to restart or shut down.. reporting the Character Animator is still running.