Family praying for missing Fox movie executive's return
On May 1, Gavin Smith disappeared.
After returning from a Las Vegas conference, the longtime 20th Century Fox executive -– who distributed such hits as “Titanic” and “Avatar” -- inexplicably missed a school pick-up for his teenage son.
His Mercedes is missing along with him. His family was unable to locate him either through his cellphone or credit card billings.
That was May 1. Since then, authorities and his family have been unable to locate him. This week, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department intensified their search, but detectives said they have no solid leads.
“We’re praying and hoping for the best,” Smith’s eldest son, Evan, said on Thursday. “It’s all in God’s hands.”
Authorities stressed that they have no evidence of foul play.
“It’s an adult missing persons case, not a homicide,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Wes Sutton. “At this point, there’s nothing criminal [related] to his disappearance.”
Sutton said information on Smith has been distributed within the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and that his vehicle information has been included in a missing vehicle database should another police agency find it.
In addition, sheriff’s officials have distributed fliers and embarked on a campaign through the media to reach out to the public for help.
“We’re getting lots of tips,” Sutton said, but detectives still don’t have any firm sense of what happened.
In media interviews this week, Smith’s family has provided some insight into the circumstances leading up the night he vanished. Gavin Smith was staying with a friend near Ventura County’s Oak Park neighborhood but drove away in his Mercedes between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. without telling anyone -- another puzzling move, his family said.
Wearing a pair of purple athletic pants belonging to one of his sons, Smith left behind his cellphone charger, shaving kit and other items.
“That’s what he was wearing, you know?” Evan Smith told “Good Morning America” in an interview. “It doesn’t sound like he was going anywhere.”
Smith’s family said he hasn’t been to his Calabasas office since he went missing. They declined to elaborate why he was staying with the friend instead of their home in West Hills, but Evan Smith tweeted last month that his father had left the family.
“Thoughts and prayers out to my amazing Mom and bros plz,” the USC basketball player wrote in an April 14 message. “My dad decided to leave the family last nite. Real family sticks together.”
The tweet has since been deleted, but Evan Smith told E! News his parents were not separated.
“They were just going through normal stuff couples go through,” he said.
Evan Smith told The Times his family was “devastated” by his father’s disappearance but was “staying strong.” They’ve created a website, findgavinsmith.com, to help coordinate search efforts.
Smith is 6-foot-6, weighs 210 pounds, has gray hair streaked with blond and a goatee. He was last seen in his black 2000 Mercedes 420-E with California license plate 6EKT044.
Investigators ask anyone with information to call (323) 890-5500.
-- Kate Mather and Andrew Blankstein