Gavin Smith, a 20th Century Fox film executive described as a devoted husband and father of three sons, drove his 2000 Mercedes-Benz 420E from a friend’s house and disappeared into the night.
That was around 9 p.m. on May 1. Since then, nobody has seen the strapping 6-foot-6-inch tall former college basketball player for UCLA’s 1975 championship team. His luxury car is also missing. A review of cell phone and bank records provided no clues.
“It’s been absolutely devastating,” his eldest son, Evan Smith, 21, a USC basketball player, tells PEOPLE. “Our dad is our hero, he’s everything to us.”
On the night he disappeared, Smith, 57, was supposed to be spending the night at a friend’s house not far from his home in the middle-class community of West Hills on the western edge of L.A.’s San Fernando Valley.
He didn’t pick up another son the next morning at school and he didn’t show up for work, where he has worked on the distribution of such films as Avatar and the Star Wars trilogy.
Evan Smith declined to explain why his father was staying the night at the friend’s home.
No Foul Play Suspected
But L.A. Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore tells PEOPLE “no foul play is suspected at this time” and the case is being handled as a missing person’s investigation.
“We’re following every lead available and have increased our manpower in this case,” says Whitmore.
The Smith family has been frantically spreading the word through social media and a website, findgavinsmith.com, to locate their dad, including the use of neighborhood search parties.
“We’ve been looking in canyons, ravines, down little creeks, everywhere,” says Evan. “We’re just praying that he’s going to turn up somewhere. We won’t stop until we find him. We won’t give up on him.”
Anyone with information should call the L.A. Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau, missing person’s detail, at (323) 890-5500.