John McAfee’s ability to evade capture during his peculiar three week hide and seek with the Belize authorities could have a simple explanation – he has been ‘hiding’ in neighbouring Guatemala all along.
In a new post on his whoismcafee.com blog, the now world-famous antivirus pioneer reveals that he has left the country after using an earlier report of his arrest as part of an elaborate ruse to deceive police.
According to McAfee, the individual who crossed the Mexican border last Friday was in fact a body double carrying a North Korean passport in his name.
The real McAfee was safe and well and now accompanied by a woman called Sam and two journalists from Vice Magazine, he said, which is where the story has since acquired yet another tangle.
A digital photograph published to accompany Vice Magazine’s interview with McAfee turned out to contain embedded GPS latitude and longitude metadata that suggested it had been taken in Guatemala.
The photograph and interview apparently date to 3 December, but might McAfee have been hiding outside Belize for some time? This would explain the inability of anyone to find him in what is a small country.
In the event, after the photograph’s location was made public, McAfee added a new entry to his blog claiming that the apparent mistake was also part of his grand and increasingly labyrinthine deception plan.
“I openly apologize to Vice Magazine for manipulating their recently published photo,” announced McAfee.
“I, for my own safety, manipulated the xif data on the image taken from my cellphone, and created a fake emrgency [sic] so that the urgency of movement led, as I knew it would, to the hasty posting on their website. I felt that our tenuous situation demanded action, and that was the action that I chose.”
So, depending on what you choose to believe, McAfee is hiding in another country and is bluffing or is really still inside Belize and the interview is a double bluff.
Or perhaps he is neither of these locations and is toying with his growing audience as part of a bizarre publicity campaign with obscure motives.
Officially, McAfee is wanted for questioning as a ‘person of interest’ in the murder three weeks ago of his neighbour, Gregory Viant Faull. It’s never been clear whether McAfee is really a suspect but the former antivirus ‘king’ has said he would not hang around to find out. He believes the Belize authorities want to do him harm.
Update: McAfee's blog has since announced that he is in Guatemala and has plans to hold a press conference.
"I am in Guatemala and will be meeting with Guatemalan officials this morning. If all goes well I will do a press conference tomorrow [5 December]," he said.