Olivia Newton-John's ex-flame who went missing on June 30, 2005 may still be alive...and Dateline is hot on his trail.
In what sounds more like an episode of Unsolved Mysteries or an Ashley Judd movie than reality, Patrick McDermott vanished from the Freedom, an apparently aptly named charter fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean. A group of private investigators hired by the NBC news magazine show believe he attempted to stage his own death and is still traveling along the Mexican and South American coastlines.
And they think the recently married Grease star may have something to do with it.
McDermott, a cameraman who dated the "Let's Get Physical" singer for nine years beginning in 1996, filed for bankruptcy in 2000 and was nearly $30,000 in debt before his disappearance. He was 48 years old. Chief investigator Philip Klein believes he may have plotted his death so his son, Chance, could receive his $100,000 life insurance policy.
"He's alive, there's no doubt in my mind, he's alive," Klein told Dateline in an episode that aired Sunday. "Maybe in his mind if he stages his death, the insurance policy will pay off all his debts and he can leave his child a gift by pretending he's dead."
In an effort to find the elusive man, Klein has interviewed crew members aboard the Freedom on that fateful journey, none of whom noticed anything amiss.
He also set up findpatrickmcdermott.com, which allowed him to see the locations of any visitors in an effort to trap the man on the run.
"The rule of thumb is always this: When you're running, you always are looking over your shoulder, and we're going to catch him looking at us," he explained. "The most unusual hits we've gotten were Olivia Newton-John when she was on tour in Asia, every hotel she was registered at and staying at there were hits from that hotel on that night where she was staying. So it's quite obvious to us that the Olivia Newton-John camp is following it."
Lastly, he followed several leads to Mexico—17 confirmed sightings!—but came up short.
"We're close," Klein said. "He's going to do something, and I'll be right on his tail."