(Photo: News5 Belize via USA Today)
By Doug Stanglin and Michael Winter, USA TODAY
John McAfee, the eccentric 67-year-old pioneer of computer antivirus software, is wanted for questioning about the slaying of a neighbor in Belize, police said Monday.
McAfee is a "person of interest" in the killing of American expatriate, Gregory Faull, who was shot and killed Saturday night at his home on the island of Ambergris Caye, a police spokesman said.
The tech gadget site Gizmodo published an official police statement issued Monday that said the body of Faull, a well-liked 52-year-old builder from Florida, was found Sunday in a pool of blood from an apparent gunshot wound to the head.
The San Pedro Sun confirmed that police were looking for McAfee in connection with Faull's death. Marco Vidal, director of the national police force's Gang Suppression Unit, told the newspaper that officers searching McAfee's home next door found no one there.
A police spokesman told the Associated Press that Faull's computer and phone were missing, but there were no signs of forced entry.
Jeff Wise, writing for Gizmodo, reported that McAfee and Faull had been "at odds for some time."
"Last Wednesday, Faull filed a formal complaint against McAfee with the mayor's office, asserting that McAfee had fired off guns and exhibited 'roguish behavior,' " Gizmodo reported. "Their final disagreement apparently involved dogs."
Gizmodo, which reported last week on McAfee's purportedly bizarre activities in Belize, said that his behavior "has become increasingly erratic, and by his own admission he had begun associating with some of the most notorious gangsters in Belize."
Gizmodo said McAfee was involved in the "intensive use of psychosis-inducing hallucinogens" and that this "would go a long way toward explaining his growing estrangement from his friends and from the community around him."
Gizmodo said his purported interest in extracting medicine from jungle plants "provided him a wholesome justification for building a well-equipped chemistry lab in a remote corner of Belize." His new venture, QuorumEx, "seeks to develop better ways to combat pathogenic bacteria through anti-quorum sensing medicines," PC Magazine writes.
On April 30, Belize's Gang Suppression Unit arrested McAfee for unlicensed drug manufacturing - reportedly methamphetamine - and possession of an unlicensed weapon. He was reportedly with his 17-year-old Belizean girlfriend. The government dropped all charges, and McAfee reportedly is suing for false arrest, claiming he was arrested because he refused to donate money to a local politician.
In a May 2 interview with News 5 Belize, McAfee said of the raid:
They confiscated my passport, all of the weapons we used for security on the compound, handcuffed me and everyone and for 14 hours outside in the sun, I sat handcuffed without food or water. ... They murdered my dog in cold blood. That was the thing I think - it was a warning to us that this is serious; don't mess with us. They threw things around; they stole things - it was unbelievable, unimaginable for a country that was supposedly a democratic country. ...
The Belize Times called the raid "a global black eye" for the country.
McAfee moved to Belize in 2008. He was arrested in 2009 on what he called "bogus" weapons charge, News5 reported.
Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize is a country of more than 300,000 people located east of Guatemala on the Caribbean Sea. It includes English among its official languages and is a popular retirement spot for Americans.
McAfee was born in England and raised in Salem, Va. He earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Roanoke College.
He launched McAfee Associates (later Network Associates, then McAfee Inc.) in 1989 and left in 1992 after it went public. Intel bought the firm bearing his name in 2010 for almost $7.7 billion.