For six weeks, Patrick Kim McDermott was a missing man. Then he became Olivia Newton-John's missing boyfriend. And prime tabloid fodder.
McDermott's imperfect past--a bankruptcy, outstanding child-support payments, allegations of "abusive" behavior--is under the microscope as the search for Newton-John's "dear friend" continues.
According to reports, McDermott, 48, filed for bankruptcy in 2000, claiming about $30,000 in debt. Financial woes seemed to resurface in April when a Los Angeles court ordered the Hollywood cameraman to get straight with his child-support obligations--$800 a month on behalf of his teenage son.
Most salacious, at least to the press in London and Newton-John's native Australia, were documents from the custody case that had McDermott described by his ex-wife as "hostile and abusive" and prone to displaying "dysfunctional behavior." Declared the resulting headline in Melbourne's Herald Sun: "Olivia's Man 'Violent.' "
None of this information is new to U.S. Coast Guard, which is investigating McDermott's disappearance along with Los Angeles police. Coast Guard spokeswoman Savannah Tikotsky said Thursday the matters are part of the ongoing investigation. She said she could not comment on whether it was common for people who have gone missing to have troubles such as bankruptcy on their records. In and of itself, McDermott's filing was not unusual. In 2000, the same year he sought debt relief, the United States recorded some 1.3 million bankruptcy filings.
Officially, McDermott is listed as a missing persons--his status unchanged over the last several weeks. Also unchanged is the possibility, investigators say, that he fell victim to foul play, or that he simply took off on his own. The first scenario is a crime; the second isn't necessarily.
McDermott was last seen June 30, leaving on an overnight fishing trip from San Pedro, California. His belongings were recovered from the boat, but he wasn't. His ex-wife, Yvette Napar, an actress who costarred on the Robocop TV series of the early 1990s, reported him missing on July 11.
It wasn't until this week, when McDermott's romantic connection to Newton-John was made, that the story of the missing middle-aged cameraman cracked the cable-news consciousness long dominated by the case of the missing teen in Aruba.
In a statement Monday, Newton-John called McDermott a "dear friend, who I love very much." She began dating McDermott in 1996.
In light of the McDermott mystery, the pop icon, 56, has canceled two promotional appearances for her new album, Stronger Than Before, the London Daily Mail said.