Patrick Kim McDermott (born Pat Kim on September 18, 1957) is an American cameraman who some suspect of faking his own death in 2005. His ex-wife Yvette Nipar, however, has stated that she does not believe he is still alive. He was the on-and-off boyfriend of Olivia Newton-John.
McDermott is of Korean descent. He was adopted from Korea by an American couple. McDermott had previously filed for bankruptcy and had received a court order to pay overdue child support to his former wife, actress Yvette Nipar. Nipar and McDermott were married on March 1, 1992 when Nipar was four months pregnant. They divorced 15 months later on June 30, 1993. They have a son, Chance McDermott.
He disappeared from a fishing charter boat off San Pedro, Los Angeles, on June 30, 2005. The 48-year-old McDermott was a passenger on the fishing boat Freedom which had left from the San Pedro marina for an overnight fishing trip. The 22 passengers and three crew members on board gave contradicting reports of his whereabouts both during and at the conclusion of the trip. His absence was apparently unnoticed until July 6, 2005, when he failed to attend a family event.
A United States Coast Guard investigation released in November 2008 concluded that McDermott "most likely" drowned. However, the circumstances of his disappearance had fueled speculation that he faked his own death. The case was featured on America's Most Wanted. In a 2009 feature on Dateline NBC, investigators went undercover to look for him in Mexico, where they believed he might be hiding. The investigators claimed McDermott disappeared to avoid debts, including US$8,000 owed to his ex-wife for child support. Those same investigators created the website FindPatrickMcDermott.com for the sole purpose of trapping McDermott. As the Dateline special showed, all visitors' web addresses were logged and mapped. The Dateline investigators believed in 2009 that McDermott was living in a boat off the west coast of Mexico. They continued to track hits to their website. The Dateline investigators said there were over 20 sightings of McDermott in Mexico and Central America.
In January 2009, investigators alleged he is alive and well in Mexico, and asking to be left alone.
In April 2009, a man Dateline hired to find McDermott, Philip Klein, released the following statement:
Since the airing of the Dateline NBC story and the media coverage of this story from around the world—we the investigators in the case would like to say "thank you" to all of you from around the world that have helped us track Mr. McDermott down. Our team cannot ever say enough thanks to the people and governments of the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Panama. As well, INTERPOL and other federal agencies that has communicated and assisted us in this case.
After investigating the letter sent to us by fax—we began to investigate its origin. Since that time we have been in phone contact with a 'representative' of McDermott. We find this 'representative' credible.
We are currently in negotiations with this 'representative' and will make an announcement when necessary. Please understand that we are using all caution due to the current issues Mexico is facing and the safety of our staff. As well, we ask all of you, including the media to remember there is a young man out there that would like firm and clear answers to why his father went missing. Please keep him in your thoughts.
We will make a formal statement and announcement through our friends at NBC Dateline at the proper time.
After years of searching for the missing man, a group of private investigators hired by Dateline NBC were alleged to have located McDermott alive and living in Mexico in April 2010. The private investigators, led by Texas-based Philip Klein, reportedly tracked McDermott down after noticing that a collection of centralized IP addresses were logging onto the website that followed his presumed whereabouts.
After they were able to retrieve "documentation and voice imprints" from him, Klein called an official end to the hunt, saying they had "concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. McDermott is alive".
On November 7, 2017, The Independent reported that New Idea, a long-running Australian weekly magazine, now claims it has evidence McDermott is alive after receiving photos by US media agency Coleman-Rayna which show a man who matched his description alongside a woman.
"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," private detective, Charlie Parker, told the magazine.
On January 2, 2018, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation published a story of a man from Manitoba, Canada, who identified himself and his wife as the subject of the photo from the 2017 Australian tabloid, as a case of mistaken identity.
The owner of the vessel will be seeking return of legal fees upward of $80,000 if McDermott returns to the States.
"Mr. McDermott's wishes, according to his counsel, is not to be 'hounded' any longer by investigators or the media," Klein said at a press conference.
Though the Coast Guard believed he drowned, many believed he staged his death to get out of his financial obligations and to cash in on a $100,000 life insurance policy for his son.
However, McDermott's ex-wife, Yvette Nipar, whom he had married on March 1, 1992 when she was pregnant, and divorced on June 30, 1993, disputes Klein's claim that McDermott is alive. In March 2012, she wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and asked him to stop promoting Klein's book, Lost At Sea. Nipar said Klein is a "well-known serial liar (who) is simply looking to be famous at the expense of an unfortunate tragedy in our lives." Nipar said although Klein repeatedly promised he would prove McDermott was alive, he "never provided anything whatsoever" as proof of life. "My son has been through enough emotional torment over this," Nipar wrote. "He has yet to be able to move on due to Mr. Klein's continual effort to keep him in the public eye."
In 2016, more than a decade after his mysterious disappearance, investigators claim that he was found healthy and alive in the town of Sayulita, Mexico—where he lives with his new girlfriend. This claim was made by the weekly magazine Woman's Day.
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- Manitoba man says tabloids falsely ID'd him as Olivia Newton-John's missing ex-boyfriend
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