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In brief: Movie executive believed murdered

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2013

Los Angeles – After months of speculation, Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators confirmed Thursday they believed missing Fox movie executive Gavin Smith was killed and publicly named a convicted drug dealer as a person of interest in the case.

The revelation came as investigators announced that the 57-year-old’s Mercedes-Benz, missing since his May disappearance, was found last month in a storage locker in Simi Valley, northwest of Los Angeles. Authorities said the storage locker was linked to James Creech, now serving an eight-year sentence for an unrelated drug conviction.

“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.”

Smith, a former UCLA basketball player who worked in Fox’s movie distribution department, was last seen leaving a friend’s home in Ventura County’s Oak Park neighborhood the night of May 1. Wearing purple athletic pants belonging to one of his sons, Smith drove away in his Mercedes, leaving behind his cellphone charger, shaving kit and other items.

Shark being filmed for TV ad dies

Los Angeles – A 5-foot-long shark died after being put in an above-ground pool at a Los Angeles home where a Kmart commercial was being filmed, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The white-tipped shark died March 6 after being shipped from New York to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times said.

The shark was injected with adrenaline and received oxygen after it showed signs of stress. It was later removed from the pool and died that afternoon.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it had sent a letter to Kmart asking it to stop using wild animals in ads, and a letter to the American Humane Association detailing an unnamed whistleblower’s account of the death.

The whistleblower worked on the commercial, PETA said.

The humane association, which is in charge of protecting animals during filming, shut down production an hour after the distress signs were seen.


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