EXCLUSIVE: There’s a new development in the case of Twentieth Century Fox veteran film distribution executive Gavin Smith who is still missing. I’ve now learned that the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has officially changed the status of the case from a missing person’s probe to a criminal homicide investigation. My news follows by a day media reports that the search for Smith had intensified and the sheriff’s department has added new resources including more detectives to the probe. But it also contradicts statements by sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore on Tuesday that detectives have not found any evidence of foul play in Smith’s disappearance. There’s been no public announcement about the change in the case’s status, and my insiders don’t know what prompted it. Smith has been missing since May 1st and was last heard from around 9 PM that evening.
The Fox veteran of 18 years works in the Calabasas office and had been a 6-foot-6 member of UCLA’s 1975 national championship men’s basketball team, the last title won by legendary Bruin coach John Wooden. His family has made public pleas for information. Smith, 57, was last seen driving his car, a black 2000 Mercedes 420E sedan with tinted windows and a roof rack, near his home in West Hills in the San Fernando Valley. He’d just returned on the day he disappeared from CinemaCon, the National Association of Theatre Owners convention in Las Vegas. Lisa Smith has set up a Find Gavin Smith website for people to email tips and comments: http://findgavinsmith.com.