World / Crime & Legal

Remains of missing Fox movie executive found in California desert

AP

The remains of a 20th Century Fox executive who disappeared more than two years ago were found in a desert area of California, authorities said Thursday.

Gavin Smith, 57, was last seen May 1, 2012, after leaving a friend’s home, and his disappearance has been investigated as a murder.

Hikers discovered the remains in a desert valley on Oct. 26, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

Results of an autopsy have not been finalized.

Smith was with Fox’s movie distribution department for nearly 18 years and was a branch manager for several theaters.

Authorities said earlier they had found Smith’s Mercedes-Benz at a storage facility, and its condition along with witness statements led them to believe Smith was killed.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday the car contained blood and body tissue, including skin stuck to a seat.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

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 killing.

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.

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