Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Disappearance of Fox executive not a homicide case, sheriff says

May 11, 2012 |  7:14 am

Gavin SmithDetectives said they had few solid leads in the disappearance of a longtime 20th Century Fox executive, Gavin Smith, who distributed such hits as "Titanic" and "Avatar," but didn't believe foul play was involved.

"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 that information on Smith had been distributed within the sheriff's department and that his vehicle information has been added to a missing vehicles database should another police agency find it.

In addition, sheriff's officials have distributed fliers and appealed through the media for the public's help.

"We're getting lots of tips," Sutton said, but detectives still don't have a firm sense of what happened.

Smith's family and authorities have been unable to locate him either through cellphone records or credit card billings.

"We're praying and hoping for the best," Smith's eldest son, Evan, a USC basketball player, said Thursday. "It's all in God's hands."

In interviews this week, Smith's family described some of the circumstances leading up to the night he vanished. Smith was staying with a friend near Ventura County's Oak Park neighborhood but drove away in his Mercedes between 9 and 10 p.m. without telling anyone, which the family said was unusual.

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 gone to his Calabasas office since he disappeared. They declined to elaborate on why he was staying with the friend instead of at the family 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 he 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 feet 6, weighs 210 pounds and has a goatee and gray hair streaked with blond. He was last seen in his black 2000 Mercedes 420-E with California license plate 6EKT044.

Investigators are asking that anyone with information call (323) 890-5500.


SWAT officers respond to two Westside incidents

Ex-LAPD Det. Stephanie Lazarus to be sentenced in woman's slaying

Mom has unlawful sex, baby with daughter's boyfriend, 16, police say

— Kate Mather (twitter.com/katemather) and Andrew Blankstein (twitter.com/anblanx)

Photo: Gavin Smith  Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department