Gavin Smith, the Fox movie executive who vanished two years ago, has been declared dead after his skull and clothing were found by hikers in a shallow grave in the desert north of Los Angeles.
According to NBC Los Angeles
, detectives from the Los Angeles County sheriff's department believe Smith was killed on the night of his disappearance, May 1, 2012. He was 57 at the time. The cause of death is unknown, but an autopsy is underway.
His remains were found in a rural area of Palmdale on October 26. He had previously been declared dead for legal purposes on May 1, 2014.
On a tip, investigators found Smith's Mercedes-Benz 420E on February 21, 2013, at a Simi Valley storage facility connected to convicted drug dealer John Creech. Creech is currently serving time at the Men's Central Jail. Creech knew Smith's wife, officials said, and is now a person of interest in connection to his death.
In discussing a possible homicide motive, officials told The Los Angeles Times
they have "a good idea," but declined to discuss any details. They also would not comment on if they thought Smith's wife and Creech's relationship was romantic. They did state that they don't believe Smith was involved with drugs.
After Smith went missing, his family posted a $20,000 reward for information leading to his recovery, and numerous searches were conducted.
Smith is survived by three sons.
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