Missing Movie Executive’s Remains Found By Southern California Hikers, Cops Say Murder Suspected
The remains of long-missing 20th Century Fox executive Gavin Smith were recovered near Palmdale, Calif., Los Angeles County coroner's office Lt. Larry Dietz said Thursday.
Smith’s decomposed remains and clothes were initially found by hikers Oct. 26 in the Angeles National Forest, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s dept.
Dietz said that officials are investigating the death of the 57-year-old — last seen in May of 2012, more than 80 miles away in Oak Park, Calif. — as a murder. His vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz, had been recovered from a storage facility in the Simi Valley, police said, adding that the condition of the car, and other information in the investigation, led them to believe the executive had been murdered.
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The Simi Valley storage unit had ties to a convicted drug dealer named John Creech, police said in 2013, adding that the executive had "some kind of relationship" with Creech's wife Chandrika. The two had met in rehab, police said.
Creech has not been charged with anything, officials said, but has been named a person of interest in the murder investigation.
Autopsy results are pending, according to authorities. Coroner’s Lt. David Smith said that due to the advanced decomposition of the man, that “it could be months, if ever,” if the cause of death is determined.
Smith, who was declared legally dead this past May, had been an intermediary between the studio and theaters in Dallas and Oklahoma City.