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Woman whose home was searched reportedly knew missing Fox executive

A woman whose home was searched met Gavin Smith, a Fox executive missing since May 1, in therapy, a source says.

June 22, 2012|By Melissa Leu and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
  • Among the items taken during a search of a West Hills home June 8 was a black Audi SUV. The search was part of the investigation into the disappearance of a missing 20th Century Fox executive.
Among the items taken during a search of a West Hills home June 8 was a black… (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles…)

A man who lives at the West Hills home searched in connection with the disappearance of Gavin Smith said Thursday he had never met the missing 20th Century Fox executive.

But his wife had a relationship with Smith, a source said.

Detectives have long emphasized that their probe of Smith's disappearance is a missing person investigation and that there are few clues in the case.

But the tone of the investigation appeared, at least from the outside, to change June 8 when a SWAT team aided in the search of the West Hills home.

The cover pages of a sealed search warrant affidavit said detectives had probable cause to believe that an unspecified felony had been committed at the residence.

The home is owned by John Creech's wife, Chandrika Creech, according to public records. Chandrika Creech met Smith in therapy, according to the source familiar with the case who did not want to be named because the investigation is ongoing.

Investigators left the home, in the 8600 block of Santa Susana Place, with boxes, a computer and a black Audi SUV, but no arrests were made.

When asked Thursday why their home was searched, John Creech said: "I would love to tell you, but I can't."

He added that he had never met Smith.

John Creech was scheduled to be sentenced on a single count of selling and transporting more than 4 kilograms of cocaine, but the sentencing was postponed until July 26 at his attorney's request. Creech, who had been free on his own recognizance, was taken into custody without bail.

Creech faces up to 10 years in state prison on the drug charge.

He was picked up by Glendale police in a February 2010 drug bust, when he sold bricks of cocaine to a man whose car also contained more than 2,500 oxycodone tablets, police said. Authorities searched Creech's business and home and found methamphetamine, 25 pounds of packaged marijuana, a digital money counter, a pay and owe ledger, and more than $75,000 in cash. He admitted to police that he is a middle-man between drug producers and lower-level street dealers. He was charged with six drug felonies and later pleaded no contest to one count of selling and transporting cocaine.

Authorities have not divulged how they think the Creeches relate to the Smith case.

When the home was searched, Lt. Dave Dolson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department homicide division said the warrant was one of several that have been served in the hunt for Smith.

Daniel Teola, an attorney for the Creeches, said this was the second time in a month that deputies had searched the house, but he refused to provide any details.

Smith, a former UCLA basketball player who works in Fox's movie distribution department, left a friend's home in Ventura County's Oak Park neighborhood the night of May 1. Smith drove away in his Mercedes, leaving behind his cellphone charger, shaving kit and other items.

Search teams have combed the areas where Smith was last seen, and his family spread word of his disappearance online and on local movie screens.

Smith's family has offered a $20,000 reward. In interviews last month, they declined to elaborate on why Smith was staying with the friend instead of at the family home in West Hills, but his son had previously tweeted that his father had left the family.

melissa.leu@latimes.com

richard.winton@latimes.com

Times staff writers Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather contributed to this report.

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