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Gavin Smith case: Evidence 'indicates he was killed,' police say

March 14, 2013 | 12:28 pm

Gavin SmithMissing Fox executive Gavin Smith is now believed dead, likely the result of a homicide, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said.

Smith's car was found last month at a storage facility in Simi Valley.

"The condition of the vehicle in conjunction with cooperating witness statements indicates he was killed," said Sheriff's Lt. David Dolson. "At this time, the evidence leads us to believe he was murdered."

Authorities said they found Smith's Mercedes Benz after receiving a tip, Dolson said.

Smith's body has not been found.

The car was found at a storage facility linked to convicted drug dealer John Creech.

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. 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.

In a statement Thursday, Creech was mentioned but was not called a suspect. Sheriff's officials were expected to release additional information to reporters Thursday afternoon at their homicide bureau headquarters.

Sheriff's officials also asked for the public's help in identifying "the person or persons involved" in moving Smith's car from the Porter Ranch area to the storage facility "on or about May 8 or 9, 2012."

Authorities have served 25 to 30 search warrants in the case, including Creech's home and Hummer.

The connection between Creech and Smith is unclear.

John Creech's wife, Chandrika Creech, met Smith in rehab, Dolson said.

Creech remains in custody at Men's Central Jail on an unrelated drug conviction from last year.

In an interview with a Times reporter at the time of his sentencing, John Creech said he had never met Smith.

When asked why his property was searched, he said: "I would love to tell you but I can't. I am told I cannot make any comments."

Search teams have combed the areas where Smith was last seen, and his family spread word of his disappearance online and on local movie screens. He was reportedly spotted at a Morro Bay restaurant in May, but Dolson later said it proved “not to be a credible sighting.”

Smith's family — wife Lisa and sons Evan, Austin and Dylan — have offered a $20,000 reward for information about Smith. In interviews, they declined to elaborate on why Smith was staying with the friend instead of at the family home in West Hills, but Evan Smith had previously tweeted that his father had left the family.

"Thoughts and prayers out to my amazing Mom and bros plz," he wrote in an April 14 message. "My dad decided to leave the family last nite. Real family sticks together."

The tweet was later deleted, but Evan Smith told E! News his parents were not separated and were “just going through normal stuff couples go through.”

Lisa Smith called her husband "the love of my life” at a June 5 news conference.

"It's imperative we find him," she said.

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— Richard Winton, Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather

Photo: Gavin Smith. Credit: Gavin Smith's family

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