LOS ANGELES – The remains of a 20th Century Fox executive who disappeared more than two years ago have been found in a rural desert area of Southern California, authorities said.
Lt. Larry Dietz of the Los Angeles County coroner’s office confirmed early Thursday that the remains of Gavin Smith have been positively identified.
Smith, 57, was last seen May 1, 2012, in Ventura County’s Oak Park neighborhood after leaving a friend’s home, and his disappearance has been investigated as a murder.
Hikers discovered the remains near Palmdale in the Antelope Valley on Oct. 26, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.
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Results of an autopsy have not been finalized. Sheriff’s officials planned to discuss the case further during a news conference Thursday.
Authorities said earlier they had found his Mercedes-Benz at a Simi Valley storage facility, and its condition and witness statements led them to believe Smith was killed.
News reports earlier this year said that he had officially been declared dead.
The storage facility was linked to John Creech, a man who was serving an eight-year prison sentence for sales or transport of narcotics, sheriff’s Lt. Dave Dolson said last year. Creech was named a person of interest but has not been charged with Smith’s murder.
Dolson said then that Smith had “some kind of relationship” with Creech’s wife, Chandrika, after meeting her in rehab several years previously. Dolson declined to provide details.
Smith was with Fox’s movie distribution department for nearly 18 years and was a branch manager for several theaters.