Update expected today on McAfee search, murder probe

Police in Belize are still searching for John McAfee, one of the pioneers of antivirus software, for questioning about the murder of his neighbor. The mayor of the village where both men lived says he expects a status update soon.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
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A screen shot of John McAfee, who is wanted for questioning in Belize following the murder of his neighbor, Gregory Faull. Screen shot by Greg Sandoval/CNET

As police in Belize continue to investigate the murder of American businessman Gregory Viant Faull, they have been thwarted in their attempts to question John McAfee, one of the fathers of antivirus software.

Faull, 52, and McAfee were neighbors on Ambergrise Caye, one of the islands off the shore of Belize. Daniel Guerrero, the mayor of San Pedro, the village where they lived, told CNET that police still haven't located McAfee but that he expects authorities to provide a status report on the murder investigation, as well as the search for McAfee, sometime later today.

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"Everyone here is very disturbed and concerned," Guerrero said. "We're just a small fishing village and we're not used to this kind of crime."

Faull's body was found Sunday morning at his home, police said. The general contractor and restaurant owner from Orlando, Fla., was shot once in the back of the head and police suspect that he died late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Gizmodo reported yesterday that Faull's death came just days after he had lodged a complaint with the mayor's office about McAfee's "roguish behavior," which included shooting firearms.

According to Guerrero, Faull may have tried to file the complaint about McAfee anonymously.

The mayor said Faull went to the office of San Pedro's town council and dropped off an unsigned letter. Guerrero said he knows it was left by Faull because one of the office clerks recognized him. In the letter, Faull complained about the "viciousness" of the dogs in McAfee's yard, which numbered about a dozen, Guerrero said.

The dogs would allegedly charge the fence and bark at passersby, especially people on bikes, and allegedly the dogs frightened tourists, Guerrero said. Belize media outlets have reported that some of McAfee's dogs were killed in the days leading up to the murder. Also in the complaint were accusations that the armed security people McAfee employed trespassed into the yards of his neighbors.

According to Gizmodo and Wired, McAfee was not on friendly terms with many of his neighbors but Guerrero said that the complaint from Faull was the only official one he received in his 7 months as mayor. He said that he was friendly with both McAfee and Faull and added that he never had any problems with either man.

McAfee founded the Internet security company that bears his name. According to reports, he cashed out for something in the neighborhood of $100 million in the early 1990s and turned his attention to hobbies, including yoga, airplanes, and Belize.

After Faull's body was found, police wanted to speak with McAfee, but in an interview with Wired yesterday, McAfee acknowledged that he was hiding from police who he claims are out to kill him. He denied any involvement in Faull's death. He previously told Wired and Gizmodo that a police raid on his home in May was part of a campaign against him. Police said then that they discovered unlicensed weapons and that McAfee was manufacturing an antibiotic in his home without a license. Yet, McAfee was soon released.

Gizmodo wrote that McAfee acknowledged in an interview that he was associated with gangsters and had taken to "posting on a drug-focused Russian message board...about his attempts to purify the psychoactive compounds colloquially known as 'bath salts.'"

As for the United States government, the embassy in Belize has offered assistance to Faull's family, said Eric Heyden, the embassy's spokesman. Heyden said he couldn't comment about whether McAfee had contacted the embassy and said only that the officials there were in contact with local law enforcement about the situation.