The case of missing 20th Century Fox executive Gavin Smith has played out like a live edition of 48 Hours for the past seven months – a man with authority, secrets, and a family – gone without a trace or even so much a good-bye.
When the entertainment businessman vanished in May, not only did his disappearance shock relatives and colleagues, it baffled the Los Angeles Police Department. The strange circumstances and lack of clues surrounding Smith’s departure provided no leads whatsoever, and the few additional details that have unraveled since offer little in the way of a conclusion.
20th Century Fox Executive, Gavin Smith. Image courtesy of the Smith Family.
Smith’s family has remained quiet for the most part, speaking only to ask for assistance in their search and offer a $20,000 reward to anyone with clues. In October, nevertheless, his wife Lisa finally came forward to address concerns about the couple’s relationship, and express her dire state of mind.
“I know him well. There’s nothing on earth that would keep him from coming back to take care of his family,” she says in an interview with Inside Edition, reports The Hollywood Reporter. “I just don’t picture him walking in and saying, ‘I’m sorry; I just needed a breather.’ I’m prepared for the worst.”
The worst, of course, would be foul play or murder.
Lisa’s statements mark her first up close and personal interview since her husband’s disappearance, but they are only the latest in a chain of admissions that have slowly leaked out throughout the investigation.
Gavin’s case began on May 1 when he abruptly walked out of a friend’s Los Angeles home, where he’d been temporarily staying, and presumably drove off in his black Mercedes-Benz sedan around 10 p.m. He was believed to have been wearing purple pants, and black and gray shoes, and he left all his belongings behind. No note. No sign of distress. Gone. The 57-year-old, 6’6 executive was married with kids at home, and a son in college at the University of Southern California.
Along with the obvious questions, many initially wondered why he was staying with his friend in the first place, and why he would vanish when he was supposed to pick up his children the next day from school and report to work at Fox?
In June, a month after Gavin was reported missing, rumors began to circulate that he was having an affair with the wife of a drug dealer, and that his marriage had been on the rocks for four to five years. The possibility of foul play started to seem more probable. Reports UK’s The Daily Mail, Gavin was a flirtatious sort of Casanova when it came to women, and there was speculation he had many paramours in his life.
Police detectives searched the home of one woman in particular – Chandrika Creech – whose husband John was a convicted drug dealer, freed at the time but soon thereafter put in jail.
“Sheriff’s detectives accompanied by a SWAT team and armed with a search warrant raided a house in the San Fernando Valley and left after five hours with boxes, a computer and a black Audi SUV,” the outlet notes. “It was the second time this month that deputies had searched the premises.”
The Huffington Post reports Gavin met Chandrika in 2008 while they were in therapy, and that some people close to the case now speculate John’s rage over their illicit activity prompted him to take Gavin’s life.
For awhile, the Smith family denied the affairs. Evan, Gavin and Lisa’s eldest son, sent a cryptic message on Twitter in April before his disappearance, but that was later removed.
According to The LA Times, Evan’s tweet said, “Thoughts and prayers out to my amazing Mom and bros plz. My dad decided to leave the family last nite. Real family sticks together.”
Apparently, Evan later told E! News his parents were not separated, “just going through normal stuff couples go through.”
Nevertheless, progress on the case has been spare, and the most informative insight points to Gavin’s peculiar philandering. Not the $20,000 reward nor the website the family created, Find Gavin Smith.com, or even a series of advertisements released have produced additional information as to his whereabouts. Furthermore, his car has yet to be found.
“I love my husband,” Lisa tells Inside Edition. “The not so pretty aspects, I would have preferred to be kept to myself… he didn’t mean for this to happen. For him to disappear off this earth…I’m devastated. I’m a mess. My hair’s falling out. I’m losing weight trying to support my family.”
Gavin’s sister has also suggested she believes there was foul play involved in his disappearance.
“Where could he possibly be?” Tara Addeo remarks to The Hollywood Reporter. “I know that Gavin would not hurt himself, and I have a hard time believing that Gavin would ever walk away from his sons. The only other alternative is that there would have been foul play.”