McAfee software founder sought in Belize slaying

Software company founder John McAfee is wanted by

Software company founder John McAfee is wanted by police in Belize for questioning in the death of his neighbor. McAfee sold his stake in the anti-virus software company in the early 1990s and moved to Belize about three years ago. This photo is from McAfee's Facebook page. Photo Credit: Getty Images

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Police in the Central American nation of Belize said Monday that they are looking for the founder of the software company McAfee Inc. to question him about the slaying of another U.S. citizen, his neighbor in an island town on the Caribbean.

John McAfee lived next door to 52-year-old Gregory Viant Faull, who 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. A housekeeper discovered the body Sunday morning and called police.

Although police have not reported talking with McAfee, a reporter from the Wired website quoted McAfee as saying that as Belizean police searched his property, McAfee hid by burying himself in the sand with a cardboard box over his head so he could breathe. "It was extraordinarily uncomfortable," he said, in the Wired interview. "But they will kill me if they find me."

Martinez said that no charges had been filed in the case, describing McAfee, 67, only as a "person of interest" for police.

"It's too early in the investigation. To say he is a suspect would be a bold statement," Martinez said.

Asked by Wired about what he knows of the shooting, McAfee said, "Nothing -- other than I heard he had been shot." In fact, McAfee added, he's worried that whoever shot Faull may have actually been gunning for him. "I thought maybe they were coming for me. They mistook him for me. They got the wrong house," he said. "He's dead. They killed him. It spooked me out."

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.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The case was the latest twist in McAfee's recent life as an eccentric yoga lover. He sold his stake in the antivirus software company 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 and that he was moving to Belize.

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.

Faull's killing shocked the island community. Residents said Faull was a longtime homeowner there who had recently retired as a builder and moved from Florida to live full-time in the island.

"He was starting to enjoy his retirement," said a real estate agent.

The latest LI business news in your inbox daily. Get the Biz Briefing newsletter!

The agent, who insisted on speaking anonymously out of fear of retaliation, said she had heard Faull complain about McAfee's numerous dogs barking outside his property.

Other residents said McAfee seemed standoffish and not friendly.

"His physical appearance doesn't really inspire you to go over and make friends with him. He's a little scruffy looking," said another real estate agent, Bob Hamilton.

Martinez said police had questioned other neighbors of Faull but had been unable to locate McAfee.

The AP tried unsuccessfully to contact McAfee by email. McAfee said in May that he was disconnecting his phone because he felt he was being harassed by police.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

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.

The latest LI business news in your inbox daily. Get the Biz Briefing newsletter!

Comments now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: