LOS ANGELES Southern California authorities said theyve found the car of a 20th Century Fox executive who vanished 10 months ago and now believe he was murdered.
Los Angeles County sheriffs Lt. Dave Dolson said a Mercedes-Benz registered to Gavin Smith was found Feb. 21 at a Simi Valley storage facility. Dolson said that storage facility was linked to John Creech, a man who is in jail on an unrelated drug conviction.
Creech, 40, has been in custody since June 22 on an eight-year sentence for sales or transport of narcotics, Dolson said.
He has been a person of interest for several months, and hes still that person of interest, Dolson said.
Smith, 57, was last seen May 1 in Ventura Countys Oak Park neighborhood after leaving a friends home at about 9:35 p.m. wearing a gray shirt and dark athletic shorts, Dolson said.
The case has been classified as a homicide even though Smiths body has not been located.
Dolson said the condition of Smiths Mercedes-Benz, along with witness statements, led them to believe Smith was no longer alive and had been killed.
Authorities believe Smiths black Mercedes-Benz was in the Porter Ranch area of the San Fernando Valley on or about May 8 or 9 and eventually moved to the Simi Valley storage facility by two people. That storage facility is linked to a person who has a very close association to Creech, Dolson said.
Dolson said investigators have served 25 to 30 search warrants in the case primarily in the San Fernando Valley area including on Creechs home and his Hummer.
The connection between Smith and Creech remains somewhat unclear.
Dolson said Smith had some kind of relationship with Creechs wife, Chandrika, after meeting her in rehab a couple years ago. Dolson declined to provide detail.
When (Smith) goes missing of course were going to talk to family and were going to look at all of his relationships and his lifestyle and try to go from there, he said. When you dont have anything to go on, thats where you start.
Several searches were also conducted early on in the investigation but those proved fruitless, Dolson said.
Smith was with Foxs movie distribution department for nearly 18 years and was a branch manager for several theaters.