May 08, 2012 12:34pm PT by Erin Carlson
Gavin Smith Mystery: Family Seeks Answers in Disappearance of Fox Exec (Video)
The mysterious disappearance of Los Angeles-based 20th Century Fox executive Gavin Smith is making headlines on the national stage as his family seeks answers as to his whereabouts.
Smith, 57, has worked in Fox's distribution department for nearly 18 years as the branch manager for theaters in Dallas and Oklahoma City. In his Fox post, Smith serves as a liaison between the studio and theaters, making sure films get to their destination.
He disappeared the night of May 1 while driving his Mercedes 420E sedan near the home he shares with his family in the San Fernando Valley community of Oak Park.
"We are very concerned about Gavin," Fox distribution president Chris Aronson told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that the studio is "actively doing what we can to assist the L.A. Sheriff's Department." He said there was no prior indication of any issues that might have led to Smith's disappearance.
When he did not turn up after several days, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department issued a special missing persons bulletin, enlisting public support in the search for Smith. Meanwhile, his wife and children set up a "Find Gavin Smith" website, and his oldest son, Evan Smith, a forward for the USC basketball team, is spreading the word on Twitter, writing: "I will not stop until I find my father. A son never gives up on his father."
He continued his campaign to find Smith in an interview with ABC News that aired May 8 on Good Morning America.
"He would never do anything like that. He's a great father," Evan Smith said, dismissing a question of whether his father had perhaps taken off and left. "My dad had no reason to leave. No reason at all."
Smith's wife, Lisa Smith, also was interviewed and pleaded for her husband's safety.
"We want you to come home, baby," she said. "Our world is not right without you. ... Be safe."
Gavin Smith, a member of the UCLA basketball team that won the NCAA championship in coach John Wooden's final season in 1975, was staying with a family friend on Tuesday night after returning from the National Association of Theatre Owners convention in Las Vegas. He was supposed to stay overnight there, according to the Smiths.
"They had already gone to bed," said Lisa Smith. "So he was still downstairs watching TV when our friend went to bed. And he was going to be coming up to bed shortly."
She said he apparently left the friend's house around 10 p.m. and was supposed to drive their son Austin to school the following morning.
The tan, blond, 6-foot-6 exec could not be traced through his cell phone, credit card or car; he left behind personal items such as his cell phone charger and shaving kit and had been sporting purple pants belonging to one of his kids.
"That's what he was wearing, you know?" Evan Smith told ABC News. "It doesn't sound like he was going anywhere, you know?"