(CBS/AP) – John McAfee, the software company founder wanted by Belizean police for questioning in the murder of his neighbor, tells Wired magazine that he is innocent – and on the run because he fears for his life.
McAfee, 67, lived next door to 52-year-old Gregory Viant Faull, who was found with a gunshot wound to his head inside his two-story home north of San Pedro, a town on the island of Ambergris Caye, said Raphael Martinez, spokesman for Belize’s Ministry of National Security. The housekeeper discovered the body Sunday morning and called police.
Martinez said that no charges had been filed in the case, describing McAfee only as a “person of interest” for police.
Wired reports that McAfee, who has reportedly been calling Wired writer Joshua Davis to tell his side of the story, is afraid that if he’s taken into custody, he’ll be killed.
Davis writes: “Asked what he knows about the shooting, McAfee said, ‘Nothing – other than I heard he had been shot.’ In fact, McAfee added, he’s worried that whoever shot Faull may have actually been gunning for him. ‘I thought maybe they were coming for me. They mistook him for me. They got the wrong house,’ he said. ‘He’s dead. They killed him. It spooked me out.'”
According to Davis, McAfee says that when police searched his property on Sunday, he was “burying himself in the sand with a cardboard box over his head so he could breathe.”
David writes that McAfee told him, “Under no circumstances am I going to willingly talk to the police in this country…You can say I’m paranoid about it but they will kill me, there is no question. They’ve been trying to get me for months. They want to silence me. I am not well liked by the prime minister. I am just a thorn in everybody’s side.”
The case was the latest twist in McAfee’s recent life as an eccentric yoga lover. He sold his stake in the anti-virus software company in the early 1990s and 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 and that he was moving to Belize.
Last April, Belize police raided McAfee’s home looking for drugs and guns. McAfee said officers found guns, which he said were legal, and he was released without charge after being detained for a few hours.
Faull’s killing shocked the island community. Residents said Faull was a longtime home owner there who had recently retired as a builder and moved from Florida to live full-time in the island.
“He was starting to enjoy his retirement,” said a real estate agent.
The agent, who insisted on speaking anonymously out of fear of retaliation, said she had heard Faull complain about McAfee’s numerous dogs barking outside his property.
Other residents said McAfee seemed standoffish and not friendly.
“His physical appearance doesn’t really inspire you to go over and make friends with him. He’s a little scruffy looking,” said another real estate agent, Bob Hamilton.
Martinez said police had questioned other neighbors of Faull but had been unable to locate McAfee.
Police said Faull’s computer and phone were missing, but there were no signs of forced entry at his home. Police reported finding a single 9-mm shell casing and said it appeared Faull was killed between late Saturday and Sunday morning, which was a rainy night on the Caribbean island. Faull was last seen at 10 p.m. Saturday.
© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.