The skeletal remains of 20th Century Fox executive Gavin Smith were found this week in the desert just outside of Palmdale. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced on Wednesday that coroner’s officials had determined that the remains were those of Smith, 57, who disappeared in May 2012 after leaving a female friend’s house in Ventura County.
Numerous searches of the area were conducted after he vanished; his family posted a $20,000 reward. Smith was legally declared dead in May.
A February 2013 tip led investigators to find Smith’s Mercedes-Benz car in a Simi Valley storage locker that authorities said was linked to James Creech, in prison at the time serving an eight-year sentence for an unrelated drug conviction. Sheriff’s officials said the condition of the vehicle and witness statements indicated that Smith had been murdered. Sheriff’s deputies said there was “some kind of relationship” between Smith and Creech’s wife who met during a rehab stay.
Smith, a former college basketball All-American, was a member of the 1975 UCLA national championship team.