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Hummer found at drug house may be tied to missing Fox executive

January 24, 2013 |  6:54 am

Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide detectives have found a Hummer they sought in the disappearance of missing 20th Century Fox executive Gavin Smith outside a marijuana grow house in Granada Hills.

Detectives took the vehicle Wednesday after federal drug agents investigating the grow house notified them of the vehicle's presence.

The vehicle is registered to John Creech, a convicted drug dealer whose wife had ties to Smith and whose West Hills home was searched in June 2012 as part of the investigation, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore confirmed. Investigators were expected to use a search warrant to examine the vehicle's interior for evidence.

Whitmore said authorities have been looking for the Hummer since the search of Creech's home and believe it may be tied to Smith's disappearance.

Chandrika Creech met Smith in therapy, according to a person familiar with the case who did not want to be named because the investigation is ongoing.

Detectives have long emphasized that their probe of Smith's disappearance is a missing person investigation and that there are few clues in the case.

But the tone of the investigation appeared, at least from the outside, to change when a SWAT team searched the West Hills home belonging to the Creeches.

The cover pages of a sealed search warrant affidavit that referenced the address of the home, signed by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on May 21, said detectives had probable cause that an unspecified felony had been committed at the residence.

Investigators left the home, located in the 8600 block of Santa Susana Place, with boxes, a computer and a black Audi SUV, but no arrests were made.

When asked why his home was searched back in June, John Creech said: "I would love to tell you but I can't. I am told I cannot make any comments."

He added that he has "never met" Smith.

Creech made the statements to Times reporters at Los Angeles County Superior Court, where he was scheduled to be sentenced on a single count of selling and transporting drugs. Creech is currently serving his sentence at Men's Central Jail, according to online inmate records.

Smith, a former UCLA basketball player who worked in Fox's movie distribution department, left a friend's home in Ventura County's Oak Park neighborhood the night of May 1, 2012. Wearing purple athletic pants belonging to one of his sons, Smith drove away in his Mercedes, leaving behind his cellphone charger, shaving kit and other items.

Volunteers and authorities conducted numerous searches, but have not found any sign of Smith.

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-- Richard Winton

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