A Wisconsin man visiting California's central coast believes he spotted missing FOX executive Gavin Smith. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on May 23, 2012.
In California’s Central coast, the legendary tourist destination Morro Bay could have been a stop-over for missing Fox executive Gavin Smith, according to locals in the area.
David Brill, who frequently travels from his hometown of Madison, Wis., to the central coast on business, said that on May 7, he’s almost certain he saw a 6-foot-6 man matching Smith’s description and a tall female companion in Morro Bay.
Smith, 57, was last seen between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on May 1 leaving a friend's house in the Oak Park area. He left in a black 2000 Mercedes-Benz 420E with license plate No. 6EKT044. The car's model number has been changed to a 500E, according to authorities.
Brill spoke exclusively to NBC4 News from Madison, Wis., about the night of May 7, when he claims he saw Smith and a woman at the Taco Temple, a popular restaurant on Highway 1.
"The next morning in the office, I noticed on the Yahoo main page that there was a news link to a missing Hollywood executive. I happened to click on the link, saw the photo, and said, 'Oh boy, that's the guy I saw in the restaurant the previous night,'" Brill said.
Marcy Carney believes she was their waitress.
“They were kind of quiet when they first came in and then once I got them talking, they seemed real friendly," Carney said.
Carney said she told the pair that she was originally from Orange County, and that the two diners told her they were from “down south.”
That night of May 7, Carney said the couple was making plans to stay in Morro Bay for at least a little while.
“They asked where they should have dinner tomorrow and I said Hoppes in Cayucos and they said they had been there the night before,” Carney said.
Hoppes is just a couple miles north on Highway 1 in Cayucos. A Hoppes employee, who didn’t want to be on camera, said the picture we showed him of Smith looked familiar, but he couldn’t be absolutely certain.
Carney told us the couple talked about their plans once they left Morro Bay.
“I’m pretty sure they said they were headed up north,” Carney said.
Since his disappearance, sheriff's officials said Smith's credit cards have not been used. Carney said the man she believes resembles Smith left Taco Temple, a cash-only restaurant, telling her to keep the change.
Brill said he contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shortly after he saw the man he believed to be Smith. So far, Brill said detectives have not called him back.
But Steve Whitmore with LA Sheriff's Department said he will make sure this lead gets into the right hands, if it hasn't already.
Smith's sister told NBC4 she hopes these sightings are a positive sign.
A website, FindGavinSmith.com, has been started to draw attention to the case and Smith's siblings met with media in Reno, Nev., on May 16 to issue a plea to their brother.
"If he's out there and he's trying to chill and get his thoughts together, I just want to say, 'Gavin, please call us,'" said younger brother Greg at the time.