The body of a movie executive who has been missing for over two years has been found in a rural section of Palmdale, California and positively identified, authorities stated on Wednesday. On May 1, 2012, 57-year-old Gavin Smith, an executive at 20th Century Fox, was staying at a friend’s house in Oak Park, California when he left the residence around 9 p.m. in his black Mercedes and never returned. Last week, a body was found by a group of hikers in the Angeles National Forest in Palmdale. The Sheriff’s Department has said the remains are that of Gavin Smith.
It was revealed, during the course of the investigation, that Smith had spent time in rehab where he met a woman named Chandrika Creech. In March of 2013, police found Smith’s Mercedes in a storage locker belonging to Creech’s husband, John Creech. John Creech is now serving eight years in prison on an unrelated drug conviction but police have said that Creech’s home was searched and, based on evidence found in Smith’s Mercedes, they believe he was murdered on the night he went missing. While John Creech’s attorney insists his client has never met Smith, he remains a person of interest. Police have still not revealed the specific evidence found in the Mercedes that led them to believe Smith was murdered long before his body was found.
Smith was married and the father of three sons, though reports and other evidence have indicated he was estranged from his family. Still, he was reported missing by his wife Lisa on May 2, 2012 when he failed to pick up their son to drive him to school as previously planned. His wife and three sons begged the public for information but after missing for two years, a death certificate was issued on May 1 of this year.
In the early stages of the investigation, it was reported that Lisa feared her husband was experiencing a “mid-life crisis” that involved using drugs and sexual relationships with multiple women. In addition to believing that Gavin was having an affair with Creech, Lisa said her husband was also having an affair with a woman named Melanie. Also, according to Lisa, while the family was struggling to pay their mortgage, Smith had carelessly spent his yearly bonus and was taking money from his pension fund. She said threw him out of their house two weeks before he went missing. However, on April 14, 2012, their son Evan tweeted that it was his father who had decided to leave the family, stating “Real family sticks together,” and asking for thoughts and prayers for his “amazing mom.”
Still, despite the issues going on within the family, Lisa and her sons begged for information and offered a $20,000 reward. Like Smith, who played basketball for UCLA, Evan was a USC basketball player at the time and an avid Twitter user. He took to Twitter to start a campaign to bring his father back. Today, sadly, a Twitter account belonging to fans of USC sports tweeted their condolences to Evan and his family.
Two months after he went missing, the movie executive’s salary was cut off by Fox. His personal belongings from his office were left in a box on the front porch of the family home, Lisa Smith has stated. While a body has been found and positively identified, the cause of the death is still unknown. The Sheriff’s Department stated the autopsy has not yet been completed and results are forthcoming soon.
By Jennifer Fernicola Ronay
Photo by CollectMoments – Flickr License