Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators found Smith's car, a 2000 black Mercedes Benz, in a storage facility linked to convicted drug dealer John Creech, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told the Los Angeles Times. However, no body has been recovered.
"John Creech is a person of interest and has been for several months," said Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. David Dolson to the Los Angeles Times. The Associated Press has more on the car, which was discovered Feb. 21:
Authorities believe Smith's car was in the Porter Ranch area of the San Fernando Valley about a week after he was last seen, and was eventually moved to the storage facility by two people. That storage facility is linked to a person "who has a very close association" to Creech, Dolson said.
Smith, who was 57 years old when he went missing May 1, 2012, was last seen at his home in Oak Park, Calif. before driving away in his car. Within the first few weeks of his disappearance, his family embarked on a widespread search for him, launching a website, tweeting about the case and organizing search and canvassing parties.
Initially, investigators did not find any evidence of foul play. But about one month later, LA sheriff's investigators searched the San Fernando Valley home of John and Chandrika Creech in connection with Smith's disappearance and removed cellphones, a computer and a vehicle from the property, reports CBS2/KCAL9.
John Creech was arrested soon after the search based on an unrelated 2010 warrant.
While a connection between Smith, a distribution executive in Hollywood, and John Creech seems unlikely, the two reportedly share a romantic link, according to anonymous sources at E! News. Smith reportedly began an affair with Chandrika Creech after meeting her in therapy in 2008, and John Creech had discovered the relationship and asked her to put an end to it. The Creeches lived in the same home but were sleeping separately when Smith went missing, reports E! News.
Lt. Dolson confirmed to the Associated Press Friday that there was "some kind of relationship" between Smith and Chandrika Creech, but didn't provide any details.
UPDATE 8:25 p.m. EST: Gavin Smith's wife Lisa Smith said the case confirms the family's suspicions in a tearful interview with the Los Angeles Times.
"For the rest of the world to know that he didn't leave us is huge," she said to the Times. "He would have never done that. We knew from the get-go that something horrible had happened because he just wouldn't do this."
Check out the Los Angeles Times for more on Lisa Smith's reaction to the discovery.
This story was updated Feb. 15 with more details from a Los Angeles Sheriff's Department press release and the Associated Press.