S601: How to disappear part 1


Manage episode 269104458 series 1846581
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Did Olivia Newton-John’s Former Boyfriend Fake His Own Death?Faking your own death is almost always a bad idea. Hear the story of Patrick McDermott, Olivia Newton John’s boyfriend, who many believe staged his own death.

The wrong way to disappear

People have been playing dead since the beginning of time. There’s really no way of knowing for how long this has been going on. But I can imagine that the illusion of dying is closely correlated with the concept of debt. If you owe someone lots of money, you have two options: either pay it or run away.

Patrick McDermott, Olivia Newton-John’s missing boyfriend, had every reason to run away. His film work had dried up and he owed his ex-wife thousands of dollars in back child support.

It took 10 days for anyone to realize he was missing. Olivia Newton-John wasn’t looking for him because they had just recently broken up. It wasn’t until he didn’t show up to pick up his son that his ex-wife noticed something was wrong. But people can’t just run away without leaving behind clues.

Patrick McDermott was last seen after going on an overnight fishing trip. Was McDermott lost at sea or was he just on the run? The truth is, no one wanted to find out. His ex-wife filed a claim on his life insurance. And Olivia Newton John wanted the whole thing put behind her.

When the manager of the marina was asked about McDermott’s whereabouts, he said that Patrick McDermott’s name was indeed on the ship’s manifesto. And there was something else. He left behind his tackle box. Inside, they found his wallet, driver’s license, and car keys.

Why would anyone want to fake their own death?

I haven’t seen any real study on this topic but I can imagine that there are many reasons why someone would want to leave their own life behind and start fresh. It could be forbidden love like in Romeo and Juliet. Or it can be greed—like someone trying to cash in on their own life insurance policy. When it comes to dying, people have many different motivations.

How to disappear with Michael Bazzell

This series is a collaboration with Michael Bazzell, a privacy consultant and host of The PRIVACY, SECURITY, & OSINT Show. We’re going to show you the wrong way and the right way to disappear.

Buy the book: Extreme Privacy: What it takes to disappear by Michael Bazzell:


A special thanks to Philip Klein. If you want to read more about Patrick McDermott’s disappearance, check out the book “Lost at Sea: The hunt for Patrick McDermott.”

Buy the book: Lost at Sea


Affiliate link disclaimer.


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128 episodes