Cops today say they found the Mercedes of missing Fox movie executive Gavin Smith. The discovery means that this is officially a homicide case, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department announced.

Smith, a 6 feet, 6 inch member of John Wooden's championship UCLA basketball team from 1975, worked at Fox for 18 years and was a film-distribution executive.

He went missing May 1 under strange circumstances:

He had left a friend's Ventura County home wearing his son's sweatpants and leaving behind his mobile phone charger and shaving kit.

Son Evan Smith, a USC basketball player, said at the time, “It doesn't sound like he was going anywhere, you know?”

Now authorities say Smith's 2000 Mercedes 420E was found in a storage locker leased by a man named John Creech, who is in L.A. county jail “on an unrelated narcotics violation.”

Deputies have called him a person of interest. But a sheriff's official told KNX 1070 Newsradio today that investigators believe others were involved in moving that car around and in allegedly concealing such evidence.

In fact sheriff's deputies state that they believe the car was moved from Porter Ranch to the Semi Valley facility, where it was found Feb. 21, around May 8 or 9.

According to a sheriff's statement:

After locating Smith's vehicle, homicide detectives served several search warrants in the San Fernando Valley in furtherance of the investigation. Based on the vehicle's condition and information developed from persons cooperating in the investigation, homicide detectives are now investigating this case as a homicide. Gavin's body has not yet been recovered.

If you know something more about the case, detectives would like to hear from you: 323-890-5500.

[@dennisjromero / / @LAWeeklyNews]

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