MEXICO CITY — Software company founder John McAfee is denying any role in the slaying of his neighbor on a Caribbean island, according to an online article posted for Wired magazine.
Wired said McAfee called a reporter on Monday to say he was hiding from police who want to question him about the death of 52-year-old Gregory Viant Faull, whose body was found on Sunday. He is quoted as saying police would kill him if they find him.
McAfee said he saw police coming on Sunday and hid, burying himself in the sand and putting a cardboard box over his head so he could breathe, according to the article.
McAfee reportedly said that whoever shot Faull may have been gunning for him instead and mistakenly killed his neighbor.
Faull was found with a gunshot wound to his head inside his two-story home north of San Pedro, a town on the island of Ambergris Caye, said Raphael Martinez, spokesman for Belize’s Ministry of National Security. The housekeeper discovered the body Sunday morning and called police.
Martinez said that no charges had been filed in the case.
Belize police said Tuesday that McAfee, 67, remains a “person of interest” in the death of Faull, not a suspect, and that he is being sought for routine questioning. They believe he is still in Belize, but they have also contacted authorities in Mexico and Guatemala, which border Belize, for help in locating McAfee.
The AP tried unsuccessfully to contact McAfee by email.
McAfee 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.
Last April, Belize police raided McAfee’s home looking for drugs and guns. McAfee said officers found guns, which he said were legal, and he was released without charge after being detained for a few hours.
Residents said Faull was a longtime home owner there who had recently retired as a builder and moved from Florida to live full-time on the island.
One resident of the island told the AP that Faull had complained about McAfee’s behavior, and others said the former software executive was hard to befriend.
“His physical appearance doesn’t really inspire you to go over and make friends with him. He’s a little scruffy looking,” said real estate agent, Bob Hamilton.
Wired reported that McAfee said his dogs were poisoned on Friday night and that he blames the deaths on Belize authorities, not Faull.
Police said Faull’s computer and phone were missing, but there were no signs of forced entry at his home. Police reported finding a single 9-mm shell casing and said it appeared Faull was killed between late Saturday and Sunday morning, which was a rainy night on the Caribbean island. Faull was last seen at 10 p.m. Saturday.