Olivia Newton-John's missing cameraman boyfriend reportedly has been seen multiple times in Mexico, according to The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Australia, and he is now suspected of faking his own death.
The newspaper reported that at least four witnesses have had sightings of Patrick Kim McDermott — who was apparently awash in debt and backed-up child support payments owed for his son to his ex-wife when he suddenly vanished almost a year ago.
Authorities investigating McDermott's mysterious disappearance at first believed he had toppled overboard and drowned during an overnight deep-sea fishing trip off the coast of Los Angeles that left San Pedro, Calif., June 30, 2005.
But an investigation by the Telegraph turned up at least three people who say they have seen McDermott, most recently about 10 days ago in the Baja Peninsula.
"We got a tip-off that there have been some sightings down here in the Baja Peninsula," Nick Papps, who broke the story for News Limited Australia's Daily Telegraph, told FOX News. "We got on a plane straightaway and came down here."
The owner of the Tequila Sunrise bar in Todos, Santos, told the newspaper that Newton-John's longtime beau was at his venue "for just one drink. It was a beer and he sat at the end of the bar. It was one of those situations where you don't know if the person is on drugs or normally quiet," according to the story.
The most recent sighting, one of two reported at two different surf camps, was by a Mexican man named Raul Avilez, who told Papps he'd seen McDermott with a blonde woman in her 30s.
"Mr. Avilez said Mr. McDermott had spent a night in the shack with the woman and they left together driving a green Volkswagen Westfalia campervan that Mr. McDermott had arrived in," Papps wrote in a June 6 story. "Mr. Avilez said the woman had booked into the camp alone and was there for three days before being met by Mr. McDermott."
Another witness described the missing photographer as "very suspicious in his behavior," Papps told FOX. McDermott reportedly explained to San Diego businessman John Brown that he was working on a fishing boat.
But in Baja, added Papps in the FOX interview, it would be easy to live incognito because "no one asks a lot of questions about where you come from or what you do."
McDermott's chartered fishing boat, Freedom, stopped at a place that would have allowed him to jump ship and slip away on land, according to the Telegraph. It took more than a week to report his disappearance, and the Coast Guard had launched an investigation into what was behind the delay.
His ex-wife, actress Yvette Nipar, finally called police more than 10 days after he vanished, on July 11, 2005. His fishing gear was found on the boat when it docked and his car was parked at the marina, The New York Post reported.
A grand jury is preparing to look into the McDermott disappearance. About two months beforehand, Nipar had taken him to court to collect unpaid child support, according to records reviewed by the Post. He had apparently fallen behind on the $800-a-month payments and authorities ultimately handed the case over to a county collection enforcement agency.
In 2000, McDermott had been forced to file for bankruptcy amid mounting credit card debt owed to numerous different vendors, the Post reported.
Australian singer/actress Newton-John, 57, who is perhaps best known for her 1978 role in the movie musical "Grease," and McDermott, 48, had been together for nine years, though there were reports that the pair had separated prior to his disappearance.
Newton-John conducted some emotional interviews about the case shortly after McDermott vanished last year, but has refrained from speculating on what might have happened to him.