A private investigator searching for Patrick McDermott, the 48-year-old ex-beau of singer Olivia Newton-John, who vanished in 2005, said a letter faxed to him confirmed their suspicions that McDermott is alive and well.
McDermott had been presumed drowned after he disappeared from a boat during a fishing trip off the coast of San Pedro, Calif., four years ago. But private investigator Philip Klein said the the fax, which he said was sent to him in February and was subsequently verified, requested the search be ended immediately and begged for McDermott to be left alone.
Klein told ABC News.com that the fax came from a McDermott "representative," and read in part: "Pat has committed no crime. He simply has gone to a new life without the hassles of California or the spotlight to which he lived for years,"and is simply signed "Cacma D." "Pat has no ill will to anyone. Pat simply wishes to be left alone."
But Klein, CEO of the Texas-based Klein Investigations and Consulting, said that is not what he was hired to do.
"Our client wants to find him," he said. "We need to bring conclusion to this case."
Klein, who was hired to find McDermott by a network television news show, said he has confirmed that the letter did not come from McDermott himself but from someone who has a "friendship/business" relationship with the former Hollywood gaffer.
Klein said the fax also accused him and his investigators of trying to damage McDermott's reputation.
"If you continue this madness that you have created by your accusations, Pat will hold you accountable for your actions," the letter read. "He is safe and has started anew again in a new place, both mentally and personally. Please be a friend."
Patrick McDermott 'On the Move'
Klein said he'd tried to contact "Cacma D." shortly after he received the unsolicited fax in February, but only got a response -- and an angry one at that -- when Klein posted a scan of the fax on his Web site, www.findpatrickmcdermott.com.
In a press released issued today, Klein said the fax's sender sent a grainy photo to his team, and they are now trying to authenticate and verify the picture.
Klein told ABCNews.com in January that they believed McDermott was hiding out in Sayulita, Mexico. When questioned today about his whereabouts, Klein would say only that "he's on the move, which is normal for him and his job responsibilities this time of year."
According to Klein's Web site, the investigator believes McDermott has been working on a yacht on the Pacific Ocean.
Because McDermott has no pending criminal warrants for his arrest or outstanding civil judgments, U.S. law enforcement officials are not involved in the search.
But Klein said the man, who was dating Newton-John when he disappeared, is "drastically behind" on his child support payments for son Chance, now 15. Klein said he did not know the exact amount McDermott owed because California has the right to assess extra penalties and interest on back payments, but he estimated the figure was between $30,000 and $60,000.
McDermott and Newton-John had been dating for nine years when he disappeared in June 2005. His wallet and keys were left aboard the fishing boat. The U.S. Coast Guard was unable to come to a conclusion as to his whereabouts as of November 2008.
A rep for Newton-John could not immediately be reached today. Though the actress was bereft after McDermott disappeared, she has since found a new partner in millionaire John Easterling, whom she married last summer.
McDermott 'Had Reached Rock Bottom
Klein said in January that he believed McDermott staged his death to escape from mounting debt and enable a son from his previous marriage, Chance, to collect on his $100,000 life insurance policy.
"He was two months behind in his rent at his home. His disability payments from getting injured on the job as a gaffer had stopped. He had reached rock bottom," Klein said.
When he and his Texas-based team launched the investigation into McDermott's whereabouts, Klein discovered that McDermott's life insurance policy "is in full force and effect. The premiums have been paid every month. There has also been an inquiry by a person or persons in an attempt to possibly file a claim on the insurance money."
After setting up www.findpatrickmcdermott.com, to track the location of those who visit it by recording IP addresses, Klein leaked news of the Web site to McDermott's friends and family. The site started getting a string of hits from port cities in Mexico and South America.
"Sayulita, Mexico, is where many of the hits were coming from," Klein said. "We got to Sayulita, we began to show his picture around to witnesses in the area, and we found people who said, 'Yeah, I know him, he comes here all the time.' We have witnesses, including five Americans, willing to give us signed affidavits that they've seen him.'
"He asked waiters to put him in corners, he had changed his appearance once or twice," Klein said. "He's moving as a lone wolf."