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McAfee Founder Sought in Murder Investigation

Although McAfee, 67, is not officially listed as a suspect, he’s on the lam

John McAfee, the man who started the antivirus company named for him, is wanted for questioning by the Belize police in the gunshot murder of his next-door neighbor, fellow American expatriate, Gregory Faull, a 52-year-old retired builder.

According to the police record published by Gizmodo, Faull was shot in the back of the head probably on Saturday. A single Luger 9mm shell was found at the scene.

Although McAfee, 67, is not officially listed as a suspect, he's on the lam.

A Belize National Security Ministry spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that "if his story does not add up, he may be arrested and charged." Gizmodo says he's the "prime suspect."

McAfee contacted Wired to say that he's in hiding afraid for his life if taken into police custody. He saw the police coming Sunday to search his property and hid under the sand with a cardboard box over his head so he could breathe. He told the magazine that he is innocent and knows nothing about the shooting. He suggested that maybe he was actually the gunman's target.

McAfee has reportedly cultivated some pretty rough customers down in Belize and his house is protected by armed guards.

Faull's body was reportedly discovered by his housekeeper Sunday in a pool of blood and his computer and iPhone are supposed to be missing.

Faull reportedly filed a complaint last week against McAfee complaining about his dogs and his gunplay. McAfee had filed his own complaint earlier this year accusing Faull of poisoning the dogs. Apparently his dogs were also poisoned Friday night.

McAfee told Wired in an e-mail Friday that "The coast guard dropped off a contingent of black-suited thugs at 10:30 tonight at the dock next door. They dispersed on the beach. A half hour later all of my dogs had been poisoned. Mellow, Lucky, Dipsy, and Guerrero have already died."

The Journal says McAfee's compound on the Belize island of Ambergris Caye was raided this spring after police got reports of a methamphetamine lab there. Gizmodo said they found 10 guns, about 300 shotgun cartridges, chemistry equipment and $20,000 in cash. McAfee had permits for most of the guns and the police decided the lab gear wasn't being used for illegal drugs. McAfee accused the police's Gang Suppression Unit of killing his dogs during the raid. He told Wired he thought the police killed other dogs Friday and claimed his two Lugers were confiscated in the April raid.

According to his reputed Internet postings McAfee, who was a serious drug users in his 30s and 40s, has been trying to purify psychoactive drugs from commercially available compounds in search of the ultimate hyper-aphrodisiac high. Gizmodo suggested his experiments with MDPV, a k a "Bath Salts," legal in Belize, might make him paranoid, erratic and subject to visual hallucinations with abuse of the drug producing "a sustained psychotic state with intense anxiety."

McAfee left the company he founded in 1994 and reportedly lost all but $4 million of the $100 million fortune he got when he sold his piece of the company in the recent global financial collapse. He then resettled to Belize for tax purposes and started a company called Quorumex whose charter was to "re-invent the way modern medicine combats and disarms pathogenic bacteria." His herbal drug plan ultimately collapsed. He also has other interests in the Central American country.

McAfee is now owned by Intel.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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