Unsolved mystery of ex-boyfriend's vanishing that haunted Olivia Newton-John for years

Darcy Rafter August 9, 2022
Unsolved mystery of ex-boyfriend's vanishing that haunted Olivia Newton-John for years


Olivia Newton-John had been in a nine-year relationship with Patrick McDermott when her life changed forever when he went on a fishing trip with 22 other people in 2005 and never came back.

Olivia sadly passed away at the age of 73 on Monday, August 8, after a brave 30-year battle with breast cancer. Following Olivia’s death, a renewed interest in the vanishing of her ex-boyfriend has been sparked, 17 years after he was first reported missing.

The mysterious fate of Olivia’s lover has haunted the singer in the years that followed his disappearance. So, let’s take a look at the unsolved mystery at sea…

Photo by Chris Weeks/Liaison

Unsolved mystery that haunted Olivia Newton-John

Patrick was 48 when he went on an overnight fishing trip on June 30, 2005. He went missing without anyone noticing and even after manhunts by police and private detectives; there is still no conclusive evidence of what happened to him.

Onboard the fishing boat called Freedom, Patrick’s car keys, passport and wallet were found and his car remained parked at the San Pedro marina in Los Angeles.

Olivia was doing a promotional tour in Australia when the disappearance of Patrick occurred. The couple had broken up not long before, so it was not until a week later that it was noticed he had vanished.

It was only when he didn’t turn up at a family event on July 6, that people started to become suspicious and police were finally called on July 11. 

Conspiracy theorists insist Patrick McDermott faked his death

Patrick was going through some financial struggles at the time of his disappearance, as per The Mirror. The court had recently ordered him to pay $8,000 in backdated child support owed to his ex-wife Yvette Nipar, the mother of their son Chance.

He had filed for bankruptcy with debts of more than $30,000. With his disappearance still a mystery, conspiracy theorists insist he faked his death to escape his money problems. People even circulated reports of seeing him around Mexico, where he was rumored to be living on a yacht off the coast of Sayulita and Acapulco.

However, a Coast Guard inquiry revealed on September 15, 2006, that they “did not find any evidence of criminal action, suicide, accident or hoax in the disappearance of McDermott.”

A three-year United States Coast Guard marine safety investigation into the boat tour also found that it didn’t carry out any head counts on the day of the trip. Both inquiry findings concluded that McDermott was likely lost at sea during the night.

Photo by Newsmakers

Olivia Newton-John and Patrick McDermott

Olivia began dating Patrick after her 1995 divorce from her first husband Matt Lattanzi. She dated the cameraman and lighting designer on and off for nearly a decade.

Olivia eventually got re-married to John Easterling at an Inca ritual in Peru in 2008, but Patrick’s mystery continued to haunt her in the years that followed his disappearance.

“He was lost at sea, and nobody really knows what happened,” she said in an interview with 60 Minutes in 2016.

She continued: “It’s human to wonder. Because whenever you go through difficult times, there’s always those concerns. Those are the things in life you have to accept and let go. Of course, questions always come up and that’s human. But you know, I live on.”

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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.