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Man's body closes Angeles Crest

Ballistics evidence recovered, cause of death may have been gunshot.

May 12, 2012|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com
  • California Highway Patrol and L.A. County Sheriff personnel investigate a reported body on the roadway on Angeles Crest Highway above La Canada Flintridge around mile marker 27.
California Highway Patrol and L.A. County Sheriff personnel… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

The discovery of a man’s body alongside a guardrail on the Angeles Crest Highway Thursday prompted an all-day road closure as authorities investigated the scene well into the evening.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials did not release the man’s identity, but confirmed that it was not a missing 20th Century Fox executive, 57-year-old Gavin Smith, who was last seen May 1 near his Oak Park home.

Los Angeles County coroner spokesman Craig Harvey said the man may have suffered a gunshot wound, but an official cause of death was pending further investigation.

The body was discovered about 5:15 a.m. by a passing motorist near the first turnout above the Angeles National Forest snow gate, about 2.7 miles north of the Foothill (210) Freeway near mile marker 27, said sheriff’s Sgt. Debra Herman.

A statement issued by the sheriff’s department said ballistic evidence was recovered at the scene, but few other details were released.

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California Highway Patrol officials closed the highway in both directions at 5:51 a.m. and issued a Sigalert. Authorities initially expected to reopen lanes at 3:30 p.m., but that was pushed to at least 6:30 p.m.

Hours into the coroner’s investigation, authorities confirmed that the body wasn’t Smith’s. In a television interview Thursday on “Inside Edition,” family members said they feared he had accidentally driven off the road along one of the canyons near his home.

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