Newton-John's Missing Beau Owed Money
updated 08/25/2005 AT 06:30 PM EDT
•originally published 08/25/2005 AT 07:00 AM EDT
Now, new evidence has surfaced showing that McDermott was facing financial difficulties, including outstanding child support, and that he had filed for bankruptcy as recently as 2000, the Associated Press reports.
PEOPLE also has learned that McDermott dropped out of a movie industry union earlier this year. By doing so, he forfeited significant benefits, including pension, medical and life insurance.
McDermott's ex-wife, soap opera actress Yvette Nipar, took him to court this spring in an effort to secure child support payments for their 13-year-old son. The couple divorced in 1994, and McDermott, 48, was ordered to pay $800 a month in support. This spring McDermott was told to get current on payments, though it was not clear how far behind he was.
McDermott was reported missing July 11 by his ex-wife after the overnight trip. He was seen on the boat on July 1, but was not seen leaving the vessel. His wallet and other possessions were found on board.
The Coast Guard is treating the search as a missing person case, but the new evidence suggests he may have staged his disappearance. "That's part of their investigation," a Coast Guard spokesman said. "Until the investigation is concluded, we can't really say anything about his (financial) situation."
Nipar also had questioned McDermott's abilities as a parent, the court documents revealed. In a 2002 petition, she claimed that he had anger-management issues and that he had encouraged their son to "play hooky." She also said McDermott had a "lack of parenting skills."
Newton-John, who called McDermott's disappearance "a truly heartbreaking experience," waited nearly two months to publicize the case out of respect for his family, she said.