Video: Newton-John’s boyfriend missing

updated 8/25/2005 10:16:04 AM ET 2005-08-25T14:16:04

The disappearance case of Olivia Newton-John’s long-time boyfriend keeps getting stranger.  Patrick McDermott vanished on an overnight fishing trip almost eight weeks ago, stumping authorities.  His ex-wife reported him missing almost two weeks later after he didn’t show up at a family party and she found his car.  But why did it take so long for Newton-John to notice he was gone?

On Tuesday, MSNBC-TV’s Dan Abrams talked to Louise Pennell, Foreign Correspondent for Seven Network Australia, who has been closely following the case. Frank Liversedge, the manager of the 22nd Street Landing where McDermott's charter boat set sail, also joins the show with information.

DAN ABRAMS, ‘THE ABRAMS REPORT’ HOST: This is such a puzzling case.  Here's the first thing that I don‘t understand.  Why did it take so long to realize he was missing?  I mean if Olivia Newton-John was dating him for nine years, didn't she wonder why he hadn't contacted her in weeks? 

LOUISE PENNELL, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, SEVEN NETWORK AUSTRALIA: That's the question that everyone's asking.  There are a lot of questions being raised about this case and not many being answered.  Olivia Newton-John was actually in Australia when Patrick McDermott was first reported missing.  In fact, she was on a promotional tour for an environmental group.  She was at a tree planting and appeared smiling publicly, certainly gave and showed no signs of being concerned about her partner. 

She then went on a retreat and also had photographs taken of her at this retreat.  Again, showing no signs of stress or worry about her partner, so really, the question remains why was Patrick McDermott's wife the one reporting him missing and not Olivia Newton-John. 

ABRAMS: What about his ex-wife?  Do you know anything about what their relationship was like? 

PENNELL: What we do know is that there were some problems with finances.  Patrick McDermott on the fishing boat, “The Freedom,” told the crew that he had some alimony troubles with his ex-wife, who is an actress.  As far as I know, he complained about financial troubles with her.  They have a 15-year-old son together and today, we have documents that prove that Patrick McDermott actually applied or filed for bankruptcy back in July of 2000.  So whether he had financial difficulties and staged his disappearance, whether it was a murder or an abduction, no one seems to know. 

ABRAMS: And without getting too gossipy about this, I mean do we know what the status of their relationship was, with Olivia Newton-John and McDermott?  I mean were they actively dating or do we just not know? 

PENNELL: Dan, I think that's an interesting question.  They were together nine years and the media always thought that Patrick McDermott was sharing her Malibu home.  But we do know that Olivia Newton-John spends her time between Australia and America and neighbors of Patrick McDermott in Van Nuys and Los Angeles said they often saw him at his Van Nuys home.  That his 15-year-old son often visited him there and you have to ask the question, if they were in a committed relationship, then why did it take so long for Olivia Newton-John to find out that her partner was actually missing. 

Watch the 'Abrams Report' for more analysis and interviews on the top legal stories each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV.

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