Sunday morning, a housekeeper on a small island in Belize discovered her American employer dead in his beachfront home, lying face up in a pool of blood.
As the Belize Police Department began interviewing neighbors of the victim, 52-year-old Gregory Faull, they noticed his next-door neighbor wasn’t home. John McAfee, the founder of the anti-virus software company that bears his name, has not been seen or heard from since, police told The Times on Monday.
But McAfee did contact someone: Wired magazine contributing editor Joshua Davis, who had spent months looking into reported friction between McAfee and the Belize government. Davis flew to the Caribbean nation over the summer to interview the eclectic techie, who retired there in 2008.
Davis is now live-tweeting quotes and details from his emails and phone conversations with McAfee, who has repeatedly contacted Davis since Monday morning. The former CEO told Davis he was innocent but afraid of what the police would do to him if he were caught. (The police consider McAfee a “person of interest.”)
“McAfee at 5am,” read one of Davis’s Tweets. “‘The police have set up roadblocks across the country to catch me. I slept last night on a mattress infested with lice.’”
“McAfee 7:05AM PST,” the next Tweet read. “Power was just cut to the house I’m in. I think this is it.”
“McAfee says he is not armed,” Davis Tweeted four hours later. “If the police shoot him, it’s not because he has a weapon.”
McAfee said he had heard Faull had been shot but knew nothing more. Belize police have a vendetta against him, he said, and want him to leave the country. He retired to the island of Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize, about five years ago.
When McAfee saw the police coming toward his home, Davis wrote in a post on the Wired website, he buried himself in the sand with a cardboard box over his head.
“It was extraordinarily uncomfortable,” McAfee told Wired. “But they will kill me if they find me.”