LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Sheriff’s detectives said Thursday the remains of missing Fox executive Gavin Smith were discovered by a hiker and his dog in a shallow grave last week.
The bones were found on the morning of Oct. 26 in a rural area of Palmdale, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.READ MORE: Rain Expected Sunday Night Into Monday In Southland
The area had been previously searched by authorities after they received several tips.
“The remains were positively identified as those of Gavin Smith,” Dep. Kevin Moody said. “The autopsy has not been finalized and the cause of death has yet to be determined.”
During an 11:30 a.m. news conference LASD Lt. Dave Dolson added that “there’s indications there was some trauma” to the remains.
Smith, a married father of three boys, was last seen at a friend’s home on the night of May 1, 2012.
His family reported him missing when he failed to pick up his son the following day.
A year later, a tip led detectives to Smith’s Mercedes Benz which was recovered at a storage facility in Simi Valley.
The condition of the vehicle and additional undisclosed information prompted authorities declare the case a homicide.
The storage facility was linked to John Creech, a convicted drug dealer, who was later named a person of interest in Smith’s murder. Creech is currently serving eight years in prison on drug charges.
According to E! News, Smith had reportedly met Creech’s wife Chandrika while he was in rehab and the two had been involved in a relationship. Detectives believed a jealous John Creech may have killed Smith, however, no murder charges have been filed and the exact nature of the relationship was never officially disclosed.
Authorities said Thursday they were now “closer to an arrest,” reported CBS2’s Kristine Lazar.READ MORE: Weekend Closure Of 101 Freeway Stretch Near DTLA Planned For Viaduct Project
Detectives searched the Creech home at least twice, seizing a laptop, SUV and cell phones.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department officially declared Smith dead on May 1, 2014, two years to the day since he was reported missing. He was 57 at the time.
On Thursday, authorities also downplayed reports that Smith was shot to death.
Ramos said the skull had a hole in it, about an inch wide.
Hiker Rocky Ramos and his dog discovered the remains on October 26.
Officials would not say if they found a murder weapon but did say the remains showed obvious signs of trauma.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
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