Is a Hollywood-themed tabloid TV show helping cover up clues to the faked death of Patrick McDermott?
Extra, the syndicated celebutainment series, generated publicity last month when it reported its “exclusive” discovery of evidence in the disappearance of Olivia Newton-John’s alleged boyfriend, who’s believed to have faked his death on a fishing boat a year ago.
But now it's revealed that the show did not turn over a visor believed to be McDermott's to authorities as promised-- but sent it back, untested, to the people who really found it!
Extra jumped on the McDermott bandwagon in June, three months after Tabloid Baby reported that he'd been spotted in and around the town of Todos Santos in Mexico’s remote Baja peninsula-- and more than a week after an Australian print journalist picked up the story.
On June 16th, the show trumpeted the news that it had sent “famed" Hollywood private eye John Nazarian, "armed" with something called “Extra’s PI cam” to Todos Santos. The show claimed that Nazarian had “discovered” a sun-visor cap said to belong to Patrick McDermott. “Extra has contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and Olivia and McDermott's family to seek their help with DNA tests that could finally determine if Olivia's missing man is still alive.”
Within days, Tabloid Baby learned that the visor had actually been found through the exhaustive legwork of a local news reporter. Kathy Aviles, investigative reporter for the El Mirador magazine and website in Todos Santos, had been circulating McDermott’s picture around the area. She received the hat, which is believed to have been worn by McDermott, from restaurateur Marina Mejia Carranza and her son Eduardo, of Marina's Cafe on the road from La Paz to Cabo San Lucas.
We reported on June 25th that Aviles had reached out to the Australian reporter, and Extra for help in getting the evidence tested. Instead, she claimed, Extra stole credit for her scoop, making it appear as if Nazarian the P.I. had actually done detective work and found the hat himself.
And now, incredibly, it appears that Extra did not send out the hat for testing after all—but sent it via FedEx back to the Baja!
What the show did with this crucial evidence in the meantime remains a mystery.
Aviles reports on the El Mirador website: "July 4th and 5th: Marina and her son, Eduardo requested that Extra return the suspected hat of Patrick McDermott… after a phone call from Extra requesting permission to turn the hat over to the authorities. As they had already given that permission and Extra had already reported that the hat had been handed over to the Coast Guard, they became suspicious.
"The hat was shipped via FedEx on the 23rd. We do not have FedEx service… It took up until the 4th of July for it to be picked up.
"I picked it up for them and immediately called the Coast Guard to let them know that the hat would be sent right out.
"FINALLY the hat is on its way to the people who can have the proper testing done on it. We sincerely hope that the DNA that was on the hat has not been destroyed during this past month of it being passed around….
"Now we wait and see…"
It has long been evident that Newton-John and portions of the Hollywood establishment want this story to disappear.
This latest twist, amid a sudden silence from news organizations allegedly investigating McDermott’s disappearance, leads to some very disturbing questions:
Why did Extra send a private eye and not a segment producer or reporter to Todos Santos-- if they were merely picking up evidence that was already discovered by an intrepid local reporter?
Why did Extra fail to hand the hat over to the proper authorities?
Was this simply a ratings grab and publicity stunt?
Is it important to consider that Extra is a Time-Warner show, and Olivia Newton-John’s latest album is distributed internationally by Warner?
On a story like this, if you can’t trust a tabloid TV show whose brass and producers once worked with or were trained by the veteran Tabloid Baby journalists, who can you trust?
Extra insiders, contact us here to let us know what's going on. All sources will be kept confidential.
(Meanwhile, rabid fans of Olivia Newton-John are engaged in a lively, angry and bizarre debate that has nothing to do with this story in the comments section of one of our February posts. See it here.)