The mysterious fate of Olivia Newton-John’s on-and-off lover haunted the singer in her final years after he disappeared without a trace – amid grim claims he faked his own death.
Patrick McDermott, 48, went on an overnight fishing trip with 22 others on June 30, 2005, but disappeared before returning to dry land unnoticed.
For nearly two decades after, he was rumored to be hiding in Mexico, fleeing crippling debts.
But repeated manhunts by police, media and private detectives have never been able to find conclusive evidence, despite constant reports that he has been spotted.
“I don’t think I’ll ever really be at peace with this,” Newton-John admitted.
“I think there will always be a question mark.”
The mysterious fate of Olivia Newton-John’s on-and-off lover Patrick McDermott haunted the singer in her final years after he vanished without a trace amid claims he faked his own death.
She met McDermott after her 1995 divorce from first husband Matt Lattanzi and began an on-and-off nine-year romance with the cameraman.
Newton-John was on a promotional tour of Australia when McDermott disappeared and it was another week after the fishing trip until it was discovered he was gone.
The crew of his fishing boat had found the American’s car keys, passport and wallet on board the boat and his car was found parked at the San Pedro Marina in Los Angeles.
But no one realized he was missing until he failed to show up for a family event on July 6, with police finally being called on July 11.
By then the trail had gone cold – and investigators found nothing.
McDermott had previously been briefly married and fathered a son, and a court had recently ordered him to pay $8,000 in backdated child support.
Olivia Newton-John (seen here with daughter Chloe Lattanzi) met Patrick McDermott after his divorce in 1995 and began an on-and-off nine-year romance with the cameraman
Patrick McDermott, 48, went on an overnight fishing trip with 22 others on June 30, 2005, but disappeared before the boat ‘Freedom’ returned to dry land unnoticed.
He had filed for bankruptcy with debts of over $30,000, suggesting he had faked his death to escape and start over.
A Coast Guard investigation admitted it “found no evidence of foul play, suicide, accident or hoax in McDermott’s disappearance.”
A three-year-long investigation into the fishing boat ‘Freedom’ revealed that it had not carried out any counts on the day of the trip, so McDermott’s disappearance went unnoticed.
Both probes concluded that McDermott had probably been lost at sea overnight.
But eyewitnesses continued to report seeing him in Mexico, where he reportedly lived on a yacht off Sayulita and Acapulco.
TV companies have repeatedly sent teams of undercover film crews and a private detective to hunt him down and set up sophisticated traps on online websites to find him.
For nearly two decades after, he was rumored to be hiding out in Mexico, fleeing crippling debts and living on a yacht off the Mexican coast in Sayulita.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing Patrick McDermott around Mexico, including around Acapulco
Investigator John Nazarian insisted in 2016: “They say he was with a German national. I spoke to people there.
“The girl he was traveling with was described as having a German accent.
“To come to the conclusion that he fell off the boat, and allegedly no one saw him fall off the boat, is the most absurd thing I have ever heard in my life.
All manhunts proved unsuccessful, and McDermott remained elusive.
Photographs of a man and woman believed to be McDermott and her new lover in Mexico were published in 2017 by New Idea magazine.
But the claims were quashed weeks later when a Canadian couple came forward to say they were the people in the photo.
Olivia Newton-John put tragedy behind her to move on with her life, meeting her future husband John Easterling and marrying him in an Inca ritual in Peru in 2008
Olivia Newton-John put tragedy behind her to move on with her life, meeting her future husband John Easterling and marrying him in an Inca ritual in Peru in 2008.
But mystery continued to stalk her in the years that followed, even as she resigned herself to the fact that McDermott was most likely dead.
“He was lost at sea and nobody really knows what happened,” Newton-John told 60 Minutes in 2016.
“It’s human to wonder. Because whenever you go through tough times, there are always those worries.
“These are the things in life that you have to accept and let go. Of course, questions always come up and that’s human.
“But you know, I live.
WHAT HAPPENED TO OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN’S LOST LOVER?
Theories have raged for nearly two decades about the fate of Olivia Newton-John’s on-and-off lover, film cameraman Patrick McDermott, 48.
He disappeared during a 22-hour night fishing trip on the boat ‘Freedom’ off the San Pedro Marina in Los Angeles on June 30, 2005.
The boat crew found their car keys, wallet and passport on board after all other passengers disembarked the next day, and their car was found parked nearby.
The crew hadn’t done a head count so no one noticed he had been missing for another week when he failed to show up at a family event police were alerted near a week later.
Since then, speculation has raged about what happened to him, with investigators finding no evidence of a crime, suicide, hoax or accident on the fishing trip.
Officials believe he simply fell overboard and drowned, but conspiracy theorists insist he may have had another boat lined up to meet him offshore.
Others think that he may have put his things on the boat before slipping away, perhaps even before he left the port, without realizing it.
Private detectives have created a website FindPatrickMcDermott.com in an attempt to trick the missing American into giving himself away, by identifying the location of everyone who accessed the site.
Olivia Newton-John has stayed in touch with McDermott’s ex-wife Yvette Nipar (pictured) over the whereabouts of the missing American cameraman
A flurry of web traffic from the Sayulita area on the west coast of Mexico sparked a hunt for him there without any success.
Others say they spotted him alive on a yacht off Acapulco, 1000 km further south.
An investigator claimed to have found him and spoken to him in 2009, saying he just wanted to be left alone, but the allegation was unfounded.
Another claimed to have definite proof that he was alive and was about to reveal it – but never did.
Over the years, there have been at least 20 sightings of him in Mexico and Central America, but many have turned out to be false.
A series of photos of a couple believed to be the distinctive-looking McDermott – who were half-Korean and adopted when they were two years old – have turned out to be a Canadian couple.
His ex-wife Yvette Nipar, the mother of their son Chance, has pleaded for the speculation to end for the sake of their child.
She pleaded with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to block the publication of a book by private eye Philip Klein about her ex’s disappearance.
“My son has been through enough emotional turmoil on this,” Nipar wrote, calling Klein a “serial liar.”
“He hasn’t been able to move on yet.due to Mr. Klein’s continued efforts to keep it in the public eye.
‘Let him rest in peace.’