SAN PEDRO, Belize – Software company founder John McAfee says he’s hiding in plain sight, wearing a disguise as he watches police and reporters stake out his home – and blogging about it all.
In the latest twist in the highly publicized case, McAfee has started his own blog, in which he describes life on the lam after police in Belize called him a “person of interest” in the slaying of fellow American Gregory Viant Faull and asked him to turn himself in for questioning.
In phone interviews with The Associated Press, McAfee has never said where he’s hiding. But in his blog this week, he claims to have disguised himself as a grungy street peddler and a foul-mouthed German tourist, and claims he approached an Associated Press reporter outside his staked-out home on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye, and almost sold the reporter a wood carving.
It’s hard to separate fact from fiction in the whole account, but one thing is clear – seldom has there been more detailed coverage of someone on the lam since O.J. Simpson led police on a low-speed chase in 1994, and much of that detail is being provided by McAfee himself.
The Internet-savvy former tech-company founder has talked about his case with reporters via email, on cellphone calls from undisclosed locations, and now in his blog, “Who is McAfee? The official blog of John McAfee,” whose creation he announced Saturday in an interview with the AP.
“Anyone who would like to read the blog and check out the references, will understand my reluctance to turn myself in,” he said, referring to his distrust of the Belizean government and particularly its Gang Suppression Unit, a quasi-military police squad. McAfee also described life on the run as “very fearful” and said it has “not been comfortable.”
But in a blog post Monday, he described it in almost fanciful terms, describing how he donned a far-fetched disguise and watched as police searched his house and reporters gathered.
As with his other stories, it has been difficult to verify any of McAfee’s claims. One resident who lives near McAfee’s home, which is two doors down from Faull’s, also doesn’t remember seeing any of the three characters McAfee describes.
Faull was shot to death in early November. McAfee acknowledges that Faull had complained about his dogs, which were poisoned shortly before Faull’s killing, but he says he didn’t kill him.
“He did not like my dogs, but neither did any of my neighbors. I didn’t like them myself sometimes, they did bark at night and they were annoying,” McAfee said in the Saturday interview. “I did not kill the man and I had no reason to do so,” he said.
McAfee, the creator of the McAfee antivirus program, has led a life of eccentricity since he sold his stake in the anti-virus software company that is named for him in the early 1990s and moved to Belize about three years ago to lower his taxes.
He told The New York Times in 2009 that he had lost all but $4 million of his $100 million fortune in the U.S. financial crisis. However, a story on the Gizmodo website quoted him as calling that claim “not very accurate at all.” He has dabbled in yoga, ultra-light aircraft and produced herbal medications.