The sister of a missing Fox executive whose remains were identified Wednesday recounted the moment she found out about the discovery of her brother in an exclusive interview with NBC4 on Thursday.
The phone rang Wednesday night inside Tara Addeo's Nevada home. She picked up, and a Los Angeles County Sheriff's detective gave her the news.
"They said Gavin's remains had been found," Addeo said. "Hikers had been walking their dog and they came across body parts.
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"He was just so full of life in everything that he did. Whatever he did, he just did really big ... He was a great man, not without faults, but he was a great man."
Addeo said her next step is finding out what happened to her brother, Gavin Smith, a father of three who vanished in May 2012.
Authorities said they believe Smith was killed the night he disappeared. The Los Angeles County Coroner's office confirmed Wednesday that remains found by hikers Oct. 26 in a remote area of Palmdale near Acton are those of the 57-year-old.
Addeo had hoped Smith was alive since his disappearance, but that hope dissipated eight months later in February 2013 when detectives found his Mercedes tucked away in a Simi Valley storage facility.
"(Detectives said) there was DNA and biological evidence in the car, and that we should probably assume at that point that, you know, Gavin was no longer alive," Addeo said.
The storage facility was connected to convicted drug dealer John Creech.
"After examining Gavin's car we were confidently able to label Gavin's death a homicide," LA Sheriff's Lt. Dave Dolson said.
Creech was named a person of interest in the case and is currently in custody on a drug charge at the Men's Central Jail. During a news conference Thursday, investigators confirmed that Creech remains a person of interest.
"His status has not changed," Dolson said.
Investigators said they are waiting for autopsy results to determine Smith's cause of death.
"The investigation at this time is ongoing," Dolson said. "Because of the discovery of the remains, there's potentially a lot more evidence for us to process."
Dolson told the NBC4 I-Team on Thursday that detectives do not believe anyone ordered a hit on Smith, but they do believe there are others who may have helped conceal the crime.
Smith's sister wants answers for her "more unanswered questions," but her hope is for people to remember not only her brother's death but also what he meant to many other people.
"He was an incredible father, and really one of the biggest people that I've ever known," Addeo said. "He's always loved and he'll never be forgotten.