01/27/2009 at 02:45 PM EST
Olivia Newton-John's onetime boyfriend, who disappeared in 2005 and was presumed to have drowned at sea, may be alive after having faked his own vanishing act, according to a private investigator hired by Dateline NBC
Former cameraman Patrick McDermott apparently slipped out of sight to escape debts and let his son cash in a $100,000 life-insurance policy, believes investigator Philip Klein.
Though devastated at the time, Newton-John did move on
after McDermott was presumed to be permanently gone. In summer 2008 she married
natural-health businessman John Easterling.
But, Klein told the NBC news program, the singer regularly logs onto the PI's Web site for updates on McDermott, who has been sighted nearly 20 times along the Mexican and South American coastline.
– Stephen M. Silverman RELATED GALLERY:
2000: Olivia Finds Love Again with Patrick McDermott