The mysterious fate of Olivia Newton-John’s on-off lover haunted the singer in her later years after he disappeared without a trace – amid lurid claims that he faked his own death.
Patrick McDermott, 48, went on an overnight fishing trip with 22 other people on June 30, 2005, but disappeared before returning to dry land without anyone noticing.
Nearly two decades later, he was rumored to have gone into hiding in Mexico, on the run from crushing debt.
But repeated manhunts by police, media and private investigators have never been able to find any conclusive evidence, despite constant reports that he has been spotted.
“I don’t think I’ll ever really be at peace with it,” Newton-John admitted.
“I think there will always be a question mark.”
The mysterious fate of Olivia Newton-John’s on-off lover Patrick McDermott haunted the singer in her later years after he disappeared without a trace amid claims he faked his own death
She connected with McDermott after her 1995 divorce from first husband Matt Lattanzi and began a nine-year relationship with the cameraman.
Newton-John was on a promotional tour in Australia when McDermott disappeared and it was still a week after the fishing trip before he was noticed.
The crew of his fishing boat had found the American’s car keys, passport and wallet aboard the boat and his car was found parked in the San Pedro marina in Los Angeles.
But still no one realized he was missing until he failed to show up at a family event on July 6, after which the police finally arrived on July 11.
By then, however, the trail had grown cold — and researchers found nothing.
McDermott had previously been briefly married and the father of a son, and a court had recently ordered him to pay $8,000 in back child support.
Olivia Newton-John (seen here with daughter Chloe Lattanzi) dated Patrick McDermott after her divorce in 1995 and began a nine-year on-off romance with the cameraman
Patrick McDermott, 48, went on an overnight fishing trip with 22 other people on June 30, 2005, but disappeared before the ‘Freedom’ boat returned to dry land without anyone noticing
He had filed for bankruptcy with debts over $30,000, sparking speculation that he faked his death to escape and start over.
A Coast Guard investigation admitted they found “no evidence of criminal action, suicide, accident or deception in McDermott’s disappearance.”
A three-year investigation of the fishing boat ‘Freedom’ found that no head counts were performed on the day of the voyage, leaving McDermott’s disappearance undetected.
Both probes concluded that McDermott was likely lost at sea overnight.
But eyewitnesses continued to report seeing him in Mexico, where he reportedly lived on a yacht off the coasts of Sayulita and Acapulco.
TV companies repeatedly sent teams of undercover film crews and private investigators to hunt him and set up sophisticated online website traps to track him down.
Nearly two decades later, he was rumored to have gone into hiding in Mexico, fleeing debt crushes and living on a yacht off the Mexican coast near Sayulita.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing Patrick McDermott in Mexico, including around Acapulco
A researcher John Nazarian insisted in 2016: “It is rumored that he was with a German citizen. I talked 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 reportedly no one saw him fall off the boat is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”
However, all the manhunts proved fruitless and McDermott remained elusive.
Photos of a man and woman who are said to be McDermott and his new lover in Mexico were published in 2017 by New Idea magazine.
But the claims were overturned weeks later when a Canadian couple came forward to say they were the people in the photo.
Olivia Newton-John left tragedy to move on with life, met future husband John Easterling and married him during an Inca ritual in Peru in 2008
Olivia Newton-John left tragedy to move on with life, meeting future husband John Easterling and marrying him during an Inca ritual in Peru in 2008.
But the mystery continued to haunt her in the years that followed, but she herself had 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 when you go through hard times, there are always those worries.
“But you know, those are the things in life that you have to accept and let go. Of course questions always arise and that is human.
WHAT HAPPENED TO OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN’S LOST LOVER?
There have been theories about the fate of Olivia Newton-John’s on-off lover, movie cameraman Patrick McDermott, 48, for nearly two decades.
He disappeared on June 30, 2005, during an overnight 22-hour fishing trip on the boat “Freedom” from the San Pedro Marina in Los Angeles.
The boat’s crew found his car keys, wallet and passport on board after all other passengers disembarked the next day, and his car was found parked nearby.
The crew hadn’t done staffing, so no one noticed he was missing for another week when he didn’t show up to a family event, with the police alerted nearly a week later.
Since then, there has been speculation about what happened to him, with investigators unable to find any evidence of a crime, suicide, cheating or accident during the fishing trip.
Officials believe he simply fell overboard and drowned, but conspiracy theorists argue he may have lined up another boat to meet him offshore.
Others think he planted his belongings on the boat before slipping away, possibly even before leaving port, without noticing.
Private investigators have set up a website FindPatrickMcDermott.com to try to trap the missing American by betraying themselves and identifying the location of everyone who has visited the site.
A wave of web traffic from the Sayulita area on Mexico’s west coast led to a hunt for him there without any success.
Others say they saw him living on a yacht off the coast of Acapulco, 1,000 miles to the south.
An investigator claimed to have found and talked to him in 2009, claiming he just wanted to be left alone, but the claim was unfounded.
Another claimed to have categorical evidence that he was still alive and about to reveal it – but he 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 supposedly the standout McDermott — who was half-Korean and adopted at the age of two — turned out to be a Canadian couple.