Belizean police dismiss report McAfee was caught

The Guardian, New York

Tue, Dec 04, 2012 - Page 7

Fugitive software pioneer John McAfee may have been captured on the Belize-Mexico border, according to a post on his Web site that appears to have come as a surprise to authorities in central America.

In the latest twist to the bizarre case, whoismcafee.com — a Web site set up by McAfee after he went on the run from police wanting to question him over the murder of a neighbor — stated in an update that it had received an “unconfirmed report” of his detention.

However, on Sunday, authorities in Belize appeared to dismiss the reports.

“I do not know where he is supposed to have been captured, but he certainly isn’t here at San Pedro police station,” said an officer stationed in the town McAfee has called home since 2008.

Likewise a source at the US embassy said that people close to the fugitive had denied reports of his capture.

A Belizean police spokesman also said he had no news of an arrest.

The British-born computer programmer, who built up a fortune on the back of the Internet security company that bears his name, has been on the run since Nov. 11, when the body of fellow US businessman Gregory Viant Faull was discovered at a neighboring property.

The pair were known to have quarreled in the past, but McAfee — named as a person of interest in the case — has always maintained his innocence.

In a blog, which McAfee began after going on the lam, the fugitive has updated his supporters and the media about his life as a fugitive.

McAfee said that he disguised himself as a drunk German tourist and a peasant hawker to be able to spy on the Belizean police investigation.

On Friday, McAfee gave an interview with CNN from an unknown location, during which he bemoaned the lack of baths and poor food available to him since going on the run.

He granted the US network an interview only after it agreed to a series of checks to ensure that his secret hide-out would not be uncovered.

In scenes reminiscent to a Cold War thriller, a CNN crew had to deliver a pre-arranged phrase and response before they were granted access to the 67-year-old.

During the interview, McAfee again said he had no involvement in Faull’s murder and that he had no intention of handing himself over to Belizean authorities.

He has previously accused police in the Central American county of harassment and expressed fears that he would be killed if taken into the cells.

In response to those claims, Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow described the fugitive as “bonkers.”

Nonetheless, McAfee appears intent on remaining on the run for as long as is possible.