Last summer, beginning in May, we covered the news that former UCLA basketball player and Fox movie executive Gavin Smith had gone missing and his family was looking for him. After a few months, with no signs of Smith, it appeared news regarding the search for him dried up, with the last update coming in August. Interestingly, the website set up by his family (findgavinsmith.com) stopped being updated back on May 17, 2012.
Now we know why. Yesterday, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced that they believed Smith had been murdered and named James Creech, serving eight years in prison for a narcotics-related conviction, was a "person of interest" in the investigation. Creech, who per his own admission to police was a middle-man for drug producers and street-dealers (i.e. middle-level distribution), apparently had some relationship to Smith. Likewise, Sheriff's Department spokesman Lt. Dave Dolson indicated that the investigators have a strong indication of the motive for the murder, but were not publicly disclosing that at this time.
"The condition of the vehicle in conjunction with cooperating witness statements indicates he was killed," sheriff's Lt. Dave Dolson said. "At this time the evidence leads us to believe he was murdered."
Investigators have "a good idea" of a motive, Dolson said, "but we're not going to discuss it."
The relationship between Smith and Creech was unclear — Creech told a Times reporter at his sentencing last year that he had never met Smith.
But Dolson said "there was a relationship" between Smith and Creech's wife, who "met in rehab." When asked whether that relationship was romantic in nature, Dolson declined to comment.
"They knew each other," he said.
Whatever it is that led Smith to a place where he had a relationship with a convicted drug dealer, it's certainly sad that his life came to a premature end. Sad news for the wider UCLA family, and a very sad day for Smith's family. Keep them in your thoughts.