(NEW YORK) — Software tycoon John McAfee, wanted for questioning in the shooting death of his neighbor, has made his escape from Belize to Guatemala, where he told ABC News he will be seeking asylum.
“Thank God I am in a place where there is some sanity,” McAfee said. “I chose Guatemala carefully.”
McAfee, 67, has been on the run from police in the Central American country of Belize since the Nov. 10 murder of his neighbor, fellow American expatriate Greg Faull. Investigators said that McAfee was not a suspect in the death of the former developer, who was found shot in the head in his house on the resort island of San Pedro, but that they wanted to question him.
McAfee has been hiding from police ever since — a tactic his new lawyer, Telesforo Guerra, says was necessary.
“You don’t have to believe what the police say,” Guerra told ABC News. “Even though they say he is not a suspect they were trying to capture him.”
McAfee says the government raided his beachfront home and threatened the family of his 20-year-old girlfriend, Samantha.
“Fifteen armed soldiers come in and personally kidnap my housekeeper, threaten Sam’s father with torture and haul away half a million dollars of my s___,” claimed McAfee. “If they’re not after me, then why all these raids? There’ve been eight raids!”
McAfee will hold a press conference Thursday in Guatemala City to announce his asylum bid. He has offered to answer questions from Belizean law enforcement over the phone, and denies any involvement in Faull’s death.
For three weeks, McAfee has been on the run, blogging about his flight, flinging accusations at the Belize government and demanding the release of several friends who have been arrested. He zipped around in speedboats and vans, dyed his hair and beard black and said he’d been sleeping in a bug-infested bed.
Over the weekend, a post on his blog claimed that he had been detained on the Belizean/Mexico border.
On Monday, a follow-up post said that the “John McAfee” taken into custody was actually a “double” who was carrying a North Korean passport with McAfee’s name.
That post claimed that McAfee had already escaped Belize and was on the run with Samantha and two reporters from Vice Magazine.
McAfee did not reveal his location in that post, and a spokesperson for Belize’s National Security Ministry, Raphael Martinez, told ABC News on Monday that no one by McAfee’s name was ever detained at the border and that Belizean security officials believed McAfee was still in their country.
However, a photo posted by Vice Magazine on Monday with their article, “We Are With John McAfee Right Now, Suckers,” apparently had been taken on an iPhone 4S and had location information embedded in it which revealed the exact coordinates where the photo was taken — in the Rio Dulce National Park in Guatemala — as reported by Wired.com.
A subsequent blog post on McAfee’s site confirmed that the photo had mistakenly revealed his location, and said that Monday was “chaotic due to the accidental release of my exact co-ordinates by an unseasoned technician at Vice headquarters.”
“We made it to safety in spite of this handicap,” the post reads. “I had to cancel numerous interviews with the press yesterday because of this and I apologize to all of those affected.”
“I apologize for all of the misdirections over the past few days . … It was not easy to exit Belize and required many supporters in many countries,” the post continues.
Belizean authorities say there was no manhunt, and have questioned his sanity.
“He is extremely paranoid, I would go far as to say even bonkers,” said Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow, circling his index finger.
But now, all the misdirection may be coming to any end. Asked if he feels safe, McAfee told ABC News, “Oh, absolutely. I feel like I’ve come home.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ivana Kottasova, CNN
Sugam Pokharel and AJ Willingham, CNN