Johnny Depp is at the center of a shocking real-life Hollywood murder mystery! In a bombshell exclusive, RadarOnline.com has learned cops are still desperately searching for one of Depp's business partners — who disappeared 14 years ago!
Anthony Fox vanished without a trace, coincidentally just before he was to testify against Depp in a bitter multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
"I believe if Tony hadn't filed the suit, he would be here today," Donna Lynn, a Los Angeles music producer and friend of the missing man, told Radar.
"The timing is so suspicious. Tony was about to win that lawsuit, but before he got his day in court, he vanished," continued Lynn. "There are many questions — and no answers."
Fox was 53 when he went missing on Dec. 19, 2001, just days after his daughter, Amanda, turned 17.
Fox owned a nightclub called The Central on Hollywood's Sunset Strip, and partnered with Depp, then 30. Together they renamed the club The Viper Room.
"Johnny planned to turn it into the hippest, trendiest club on the Strip," said another source. "But from the beginning, The Viper Room was a place where drug dealers flourished."
Tragically, on Halloween 1993, Depp's friend, actor River Phoenix, died outside the club after injecting heroin into his veins. He was 23.
After that, Depp, now 52, drifted through the '90s in a haze of booze and drugs, and in 1999, Fox slapped Depp with a lawsuit alleging the Edward Scissorhands actor had conspired to divert millions in profits from The Viper Room.
In a preliminary ruling early in 2003, a judge indicated Fox would prevail in the case, writing: "Depp…breached his fiduciary duties. The facts establish persistent and pervasive fraud and mismanagement and abuse of authority."
But Fox went missing shortly before he was scheduled to testify against Depp and four others. Also missing were his pickup truck and .38-caliber revolver.
Nineteen days later, on Jan. 6, 2002, his vehicle was found abandoned in Santa Clara, Calif. — 330 miles from where he was last seen near his home in Ventura, Calif. His body has never been found.
In 2004, Depp quietly settled the lawsuit, turning over his share of the notorious nightclub to Fox's daughter, Amanda.
Now, 14 years after Anthony's mysterious disappearance, Sgt. Matt Cain of the Ventura Police Department's Major Crimes Division stressed: "This is an active endangered missing person's case."
Fox's friend, Donna Lynn, added: "Someone knows what happened to Tony. I can't say what Johnny Depp knows, but when I see him with his daughter, Lily-Rose, who's about the age Amanda was when her father disappeared, I wonder."