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Multimedia journalist Andy Park hovers the SBS drone over the day’s news. Follow @andy_park
Wanted for murder: The blogging fugitive millionaire.
22 November 2012, 15:49 PM | Source:
It really has all the ingredients of a spectacularly good yarn.
An eccentric software millionaire.
His tropical Central-American hideaway.
The murder of his expat neighbour.
His suspicious disappearance.
And lastly, his blog, written from hiding and on the run, in which he claims to have disguised himself with shoe polish to elude investigators.
Yep, for John McAfee, things certainly have gotten weird.
But let’s wind back a bit, before it gets even weirder.
Former NASA programmer John McAfee, the software guru behind the world first anti-virus software and the iconic brand that still bears his own name, retired to Belize in 2009, building himself a beachside compound protected by armed guards.
At that time, his personal fortune which once topped $100 million had dwindled to about $4 million and he sold his properties in Mexico and Hawaii.
But a glitch appeared in McAffe’s slow slide into eccentric anonymity (his taste for guns, guard dogs and alternative lifestyles were well charted in Wired magazine).
We won’t dwell in the he said/she said here, but McAffe’s fellow American expat neighbour, Gregory Faull, was shot dead in the back of the head.
McAfee’s explanations include the idea that someone was actually gunning for him, and shady Belizean government plot to get him to leave the country (he claims his dogs were all poisoned).
Regardless, he had fallen out with local authorities.
After a raid from the Belize police force's Gang Suppression Unit, he was arrested, but not charged, on suspicion of making crystal meth and possessing unlicensed firearms.
In the raid, he is reportedly pulled from the bed of his 17-year-old girlfriend.
McAfee subsequently went into hiding and if you thought that was all that was pretty tropical, here’s where the weird get weirder.
So the latest twist in the highly-publicised case sees McAfee starting his own blog after police in Belize called him a person of interest in the slaying of his neighbour.
In phone interviews, he 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 a reporter outside his staked-out home on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye.
"I darkened the skin of my face, neck and hands carefully with shoe polish and put on an LA Saints baseball cap with the brim facing backward and tufts of the front of my hair sticking out unkempt through the band," he said.
Perhaps even more surreal: his blog, which is hosted by graphic novelist Chad Essley, will be turned into a comic book.
“The true story of my unusual friendship with the antivirus king,” it says.
It’s difficult to differentiate fact from fiction in the increasingly paranoid-sounding McAfee.
He recently blogged “I am old and foolish and forget the basic tenets of reality sometimes.”
But it’s certain to get a little weirder before the end.