Hollywood, California - Last reported sighting of the 7-foot tall actor, Michael Smith, who originally played "Chewbacca" in the very popular "Star Wars" movie series (episodes IV, V and VI), placed him driving down a winding country road somewhere deep in the back woods of the peach state of Georgia, where the body of an alleged "Bigfoot" was recently discovered by two hunters.
On his way to make a special appearance as the lovable space ferrying fur ball for a surprise birthday party for a close family friend's sick child; Only, Smith never arrived.
Smith's abandoned car was found by the local highway patrol parked a half-mile or so down the road from his friend's house.
"Michael wouldn't just let a kid down like that," said Carol Smith, his wife of 31 years. "He's a professional actor."
Although it is true that Smith has been out of work since George Lucas rapped up "Return of the Jedi" in 1981, he was doing the birthday party as a favor to a friend, insisted Mrs. Smith. Despite their expectations of turning the appearance into a regular part time gig, picking up some sorely needed money on the side to supplement their fixed retirement income.
"He so looked forward to attending the birthday party as 'Chewbacca," said Mrs. Smith. "He was finally ready to face his inner demon, once again reprising his role as what he endearingly referred to as the 'Space Monkey' that made him famous, forever typecasting him to cast directors as the ape-man, destroying his budding acting career."
"Tracks leading away from the back of the vehicle indicate that Smith removed something from the trunk before proceeding in the direction of his friend's house," said Officer Paul Johnson of the Georgian Highway Patrol.
Officer Johnson believes that Smith must have pulled his car over to the side of the road, parking it far away enough so the children arriving at the birthday close would not see him get dressed into his 'Chewbacca' costume, but still close enough for him to walk the distance to the house, allowing him to surprise the children.
"Large foot prints from the 'Chewbacca' costume fortunately left deep impressions in the ground, making it easier to track where he went," said Officer Johnson, as he pulled out a map of the region.
"Now as we all know from the movie, 'The Fugitive," continued Officer Johnson. "A man can cover only so much distance on foot, weather walking or running. So I world say that since Smith was not handcuffed or chained at the ankle and because his tracks suddenly disappear where we found a bloodied wooden club and all those empty jugs of Moon Shine that he has been kidnapped by Mountain Folk. Or what you call: 'Hillbillies."
"I know, Michael," said an inconsolable Mrs. Smith. "He would never disappoint a close family friend's sick child on their birthday or skip out on a paying gig. He would have made that appearance at that birthday party as if it were the last thing he ever did. Or died trying in the process."
Officer Johnson plans to form a search party and expand the parameter of the search area where the movie 'Deliverance' was shot.
"It's ironic, I know," said Officer Johnson. "It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up just thinking about it."