E! True Hollywood Story tackles the Olivia Newton-John saga this weekend, and their reportage confirms what Tabloid Baby has been reporting for months now: Newton-John’s alleged boyfriend, Patrick McDermott, missing from a fishing trip since last July—
This information is supported by interviews with the U.S. Coast Guard, the crew of the fishing boat Freedom, on which McDermott was last seen—and by Tabloid Baby’s source in the area where McDermott was allegedly sighted.
We broke the news in March that representatives of the Freedom told our correspondent that the U.S. Coast Guard and members of the sportfishing community believe that McDermott staged his death because of mounting debts and obligations to his former wife.
They told us that McDermott has been seen, alive, in the town of Todos Santos, on the west coast of the lower Baja peninsula, about one hour north of Cabo San Lucas.
Lt. Tony Migliorini, the public information officer at the US Coast Guard station in Long Beach, confirmed to Tabloid Baby this afternoon that the disappearance of Patrick McDermott in July 2005 “is still an open case.
“We have no updates to report,” he said. “But we have an investigator assigned to the case. He has reports of sightings and he has followed them. We’ve received reports from people who say they’ve spotted him. Everywhere from Africa to Beverly Hills. But there are other leads that our investigator is following. And he probably has information that I don’t have."
The lieutenant emphasized: “We consider this case to be ‘open.’”
The journalists who produce E! True Hollywood Story confirm this in the Newton-John special, which debuts Sunday night.
E! Entertainment’s publicity people refused to allow Tabloid Baby to speak with True Hollywood Story’s producer Michael Lynn or any members of the production team, but they did send us the press release.
According to the publicity sheet, the episode does not include a fresh interview with Newton-John, but does contain exclusive interviews with her daughter, Chloe (“She's gone through something this year that is unthinkable”), ex-husband Matt Latanzi (“We're talking about a woman who's been through a lot”), her sister Rona, and other colleagues.
But the interview that stands out is one with Frank Liversedge, manager of the 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro, where the Freedom is docked:
"The period of time where Patrick supposedly disappeared on the boat, all the people were facing the stern part of the boat, the crew was back here in the back working. And you can see this standing right here-- there's no way anyone could go over the side or into the water without someone seeing them."
The E! True Hollywood Newton-John episode features footage from onboard the Freedom, and promises to bring new insight into the relationship between the superstar and McDermott, and, by the looks of the press release, leans toward the theory that Patrick McDermott is indeed alive.
So why does no major news organization, from Los Angeles to Sydney, have a reporter or producer assigned to this story, chasing down the leads, and bringing McDermott back alive—before the bounty hunters or government officials do it?
Tabloid Baby has learned that the E! team had spoken with Coast Guard investigators and had hoped to get advance notice in case McDermott is tracked down before the show goes to air.
But the E! publicity people won’t let us get confirmation from the source.
Our man in Todos Santos
Whether he stepped off the Freedom and into a waiting car for a drive to Tijuana, or, as we have been told, slipped onto another fishing boat for the cruise to Todos Santos, there is evidence that McDermott is alive.
Tabloid Baby has been in contact with one of the few full time journalists in Todos Santos, and in a fashion that should make Michael Connelly and Elmore Leonard proud, has provided him with picture of McDermott that he's been showing around town.
“One person finds the face somewhat familiar,” reports our source in Todos Santos. “Let me just say, forget the Police. This is a basically a rural farming community. The infrastructure barely supports the police having a telephone line and fuel for their vehicles, far less any sophisticated search facilities.
“One person finds the face somewhat familiar.”
There are many unanswered questions in this story, from Newton-John’s public silence during the first seven weeks of McDermott’s disappearance, to the spin control performed by her team in the months since, and the continued silence of McDermott’s ex-wife, with whom he was locked in child support and custody battles.
This story is very much alive.
(And a tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to Michael Lynn, one of the foremost nonfiction producers and writers in television, for helping move the story and investigation forward.)