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McAfee founder still on the run after leaving Belize

- Associated Press - Monday, December 3, 2012

MEXICO CITY — Software company founder John McAfee said Monday he has left Belize and is still on the run, adding "we are not in Belize, but not quite out of the woods yet."

Mr. McAfee claimed in a blog posting he had evaded authorities by staging an elaborate distraction in neighboring Mexico.

It was a turn typical of the bizarre saga of the eccentric founder of an anti-virus company who is wanted for questioning in connection with the killing of a fellow American expatriate.

In an email to The Associated Press, Mr. McAfee confirmed a posting to his website in which he described, in what appeared to be joking tones, how he mounted the ruse.

"My 'double,' carrying on [sic] a North Korean passport under my name, was detained in Mexico for preplanned misbehavior," Mr. McAfee wrote in the posting, "but due to indifference on the part of authorities [he] was evicted from the jail and was unable to serve his intended purpose in our exit plan."

Mr. McAfee did not describe the entire plan, nor did he say where exactly he is now. In a previous interview with the AP, Mr. McAfee had said he had no plans to leave Belize.

"I'm not going to leave this country," he had told the AP. "I love this country. This is my home. I intend to fight the injustice that's here from here. I can't do much from outside, can I?"

Police in Belize have called him a "person of interest" in the slaying of fellow American Gregory Viant Faull and asked him to turn himself in for questioning.

Faull was fatally shot in early November. Mr. McAfee acknowledges that Faull had complained about his dogs, who were poisoned shortly before Faull's killing, but says he didn't kill Faull.

In Monday's post, Mr. McAfee said he left Belize because he thought "Sam," the young Belizean woman who has accompanied him since he went on the lam, was in danger.

"I left Belize because of a series of events which led both Sam and I to believe that she was in danger of capture. She has been my go-between and my eyes and ears in the outside world. I decided to make the move. I will be returning to Belize after I have place [sic] Sam in a safe position. My fight is in Belize, and I can do little in exile."

Police sources in Belize said early Monday they believed Mr. McAfee was still in the country. The sparsely populated border between the two countries is unguarded and unmarked in many places.

Rumors arose over the weekend that Mr. McAfee had been caught, but Belizean police quickly denied that.

Mr. McAfee has said he won't turn himself in because he fears he will be killed by Belizean police while in custody.

Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow has expressed doubts about Mr. McAfee's mental state: "I don't want to be unkind to the gentleman, but I believe he is extremely paranoid, even bonkers," he said.

Mr. McAfee, who is extremely polite and coherent in telephone conversations, brushes off such accusations, telling the AP, "If people want to call that paranoia, they can do so if you wish, that will not concern me."

Mr. McAfee, creator of the McAfee anti-virus program, has led an eccentric life since he sold his stake in the company that bears his name in the early 1990s. He moved to Belize about three years ago to lower his taxes.

He told The New York Times in 2009 that he had lost all but $4 million of his $100 million fortune in the U.S. financial crisis.

However, a story on the Gizmodo website quoted him as calling that claim "not very accurate at all." He has dabbled in yoga, ultralight aircraft and producing herbal medications.

Mr. McAfee has not said where he's hiding. But in his blog, he has claimed to have disguised himself as a grungy street peddler and a foul-mouthed German tourist.

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