McDermott and Newton-John
06/05/2006 at 09:00 AM EDT
Three separate witnesses in Mexico have spotted Olivia Newton-John's missing boyfriend, who was thought to have fallen overboard during a deep-sea fishing trip nearly a year ago, Australia's Daily Telegraph reports.
Patrick McDermott, 48, a cameraman whom Newton-John met in 1996, disappeared on June 30, 2005, while on an overnight fishing trip out of San Pedro, Calif. Subsequent news reports revealed that he had amassed a mountain of debts and faced possible jail time over thousands of dollars in child support he owed his ex-wife, actress Yvette Nipar.
But according to a story on Monday in the Daily Telegraph – which says that McDermott is now suspected of faking his death – he has been seen in Mexico's Baja Peninsula over the past three months, and as recently as 10 days ago.
Manuel Valdez, owner of a bar north of the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas, tells the paper he saw McDermott three months ago and was struck by McDermott's mood, saying "it was one of those situations where you don't know if the person is on drugs or normally quiet."
Newton-John, 57, was at a health retreat she owns in Australia when she learned of McDermott's disappearance, and returned to the U.S. at the end of last July. In October she told the hosts of The View that her initial reaction to hearing about McDermott was utter shock. "I was just kind of frozen. … But you have to move on. I didn't think I was going to sing again, but I am singing again."
Newton-John and McDermott met a decade ago while filming a commercial, shortly after Newton-John divorced her husband of 11 years, Matt Lattanzi.
At the time that McDermott's disappearance became apparent, a spokesman for Newton-John told PEOPLE that the singer "is in close and frequent contact with his family and other friends, as well as with officials who are assisting in this matter."