Twelve years ago, actress and singer Olivia Newton-John was on a promotional tour in Australia when her boyfriend of nine years, cameraman Patrick McDermott, vanished off the coast of California.
48-year-old McDermott was on an overnight fishing trip with 22 other passengers and three crew members when he disappeared on June 30, 2005. The entire mystery continued to deepen when investigators found his personal items, including this wallet, was left on the boat.
To add to the bizarreness of the case, McDermott wasn’t reported missing right away. His ex-wife filed a missing report about a week later after he failed to show up at a family event. It took another 45 days for Newton-John to publicly address her partner’s disappearance.
Newton-John re-married in 2008, and opened up about her former beau in an interview that year.
“It’s human to wonder but you know, those are the things in life you have to accept and let go. Because whenever you go through difficult times, there’s always those concerns,” she admitted. “But, I live on and of course questions come up, always, it’s human.”
In 2008, the United States Coast Guard’s investigation concluded that he “most likely” drowned, but that did not stop people from speculating that McDermott faked his death to avoid paying back his debts, including $8,000 in child support.
In 2009, Dateline NBC aired a special in which investigators went to Mexico, where McDermott was rumored to be hiding after receiving multiple sighting tips. The lead investigator, Philip Klein, tracked down an address that allegedly confirmed McDermott was alive and living under his birth name, Pat Kim.
The manhunt was then officially called off, and the McDermott case was rarely discussed until recently. In November 2017, an Australian magazine published an article which included photos from a US media agency of a man believed to be McDermott.
“The widow’s peak is exact. The eyes are very similar and the ears extend down on the head the same distance. I believe it is him,” Charlie Parker, a private detective, told the magazine. He also claimed that the man is a “90 percent match.”
Newspapers and tabloids all over the world picked up the story, but little did they know that there was more to the photos than meets the eye.