(LOS ANGELES) — Los Angeles police have located the car of missing 20th Century Fox executive Gavin Smith and are now investigating the case as a homicide.
The car, a black 2000 Mercedes-Benz 420E, was found at a storage facility in Simi Valley on Thursday. The storage facility is connected to a convicted drug dealer named John Creech.
Smith’s body has not yet been found.
Smith, 57, a married father of three, disappeared in early May 2012 after leaving a friend’s home in Ventura County’s Oak Park neighborhood. There were reports he was possibly spotted dining with a female companion later that month.
The Smiths told ABC News that Gavin Smith’s cell phone charger, shaving kit and other belongings were all at the friend’s house where he was staying. He was last seen wearing purple workout pants that had belonged to his teenage son, which the family said was a sure sign he had no intention of going out anywhere in public.
Smith’s wife, children and sister previously told ABC News that the former UCLA basketball star and movie executive would never abandon his family.
“He would never do anything like that,” said Evan Smith, Gavin’s eldest son and a star basketball player at USC. “He’s a great father. My dad had no reason to leave, no reason at all.”
Police have served between 25 and 30 search warrants in the case, and are asking the public for help identifying the people responsible for moving Smith’s Mercedes from the Porter Ranch area to the storage facility around May 8 or 9.
Creech is not mentioned as a suspect, and is currently in jail on an unrelated narcotics conviction, according to a sheriff’s office statement.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Andreas Preuss, CNN
Dave Crawley, KDKA
Brian Stelter, CNN
Jamie Crawford, CNN