years after Fox executive Gavin Smith mysteriously disappeared, the
missing man has formally been declared dead, officials said.
the two years since Smith vanished, detectives had said they had
significant evidence that he was killed, but the case remained
“We have physical evidence of his death,” Bill
McSweeney, sheriff’s chief of the detective bureau, said Thursday.
Smith’s body, though, has never been found, he said.
Last year, when investigators recovered Smith’s car from a
Simi Valley storage facility, they declared a jailed convicted drug
dealer as a person of interest in what they termed a murder.
Authorities said they believed the former UCLA basketball player was killed the same night he vanished.
The storage unit where the car was found was later linked to a man named John Creech.
is currently serving an eight-year jail term for drug-related offenses
and has not spoken to detectives. His wife, though, said he her husband
had a “relationship” with Smith, whom he met in rehab.
Creech’s wife had talked with detectives, according to Lt. Dave Dolson.
his jailing, Creech told The Times he had never met Smith and knew
nothing about his disappearance. More than two dozen search warrants
have been served in connection with the case.
Smith, who worked in
Fox’s movie distribution department, was last seen leaving a friend’s
home in Ventura County’s Oak Park neighborhood the night of May 1, 2012.
purple athletic pants belonging to one of his sons, Smith drove away in
his Mercedes, leaving behind his cellphone charger, shaving kit and
In the months after Smith was last seen, officials
insisted the case remained a missing person investigation, even as
Creech’s home and vehicle were searched.
After the car was found
last year, Dolson said, the condition of the vehicle along with
statements from witnesses indicated Smith had been killed.
was picked up by Glendale police in a February 2010 drug bust, when he
allegedly sold bricks of cocaine to a man whose car contained more than
2,500 oxycodone tablets.
Subsequent searches of Creech’s home and
business yielded drugs, cash and other items, police said. Creech later
admitted that he was a middle-man between drug producers and lower-level
street dealers, and pleaded no contest to one count of selling and
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