John McAfee, the former founder of a major software anti-virus computer company, who once had strong real estate ties in Teller County and previously owned the Woodland Park golf course property, has hit the national spotlight again. Only this time, McAfee is on the run and hiding from Belize police authorities in connection with the murder of his neighbor, 52-year-old Gregory Viant Faull. According to police officials, Faull was found with a gunshot wound to his head inside his home north of San Pedro, a town on the island of Ambergris Caye, where both men lived.
But in an equally bizarre twist, McAfee, in several interviews with the national media last week publicly professed his innocence and said he feared for his life. He maintained that a paramilitary segment of the police planned to torture and kill him. He said he was accompanied by a young girl, whose life also was in danger.
Belize authorities, though, paint a different picture, and say they just want to talk to McAfee, who is a person of interest regarding the recent murder. Prime Minister Dean Barrow said McAfee was only wanted for questioning and should report to the authorities. According to an article in the New York Daily News, Barrow expressed concerns about McAfee’s mental state. “I don’t want to be unkind to the gentleman, but I believe he is extremely paranoid, even bonkers.”
McAfee is known for his idiosyncratic lifestyle, centering on the early development of the Internet, Yoga teachings, lavish real estate holdings, guns and a staunch belief in property rights. He previously owned a 10,000-square-foot mansion on a 280-acre estate in Teller County before selling it in 2007 during a well-publicized auction. The secluded mountain compound includes three guest homes, two guest apartments and nine cabins, plus four trout lakes, picnic areas, a horse stable, and meditation and yoga studios.
In addition, McAfee was the original owner of a nearly 500-acre golf course and prime real estate area in Woodland Park, now known as Shining Mountain. In the early 1990s, McAfee, through a company he financed, started construction on the clubhouse and the initial front-nine. And in a bizarre move that took some by surprise in the community, he pulled the plug on the project due to concerns over how the course was developing and cost over-runs. Surprisingly, this decision left the links property with a half-built clubhouse and nearly completed dirt work on the front-nine.
The city of Woodland Park, with then City Manager Don Howell at the helm, briefly considered taking over the development and crafting a deal with McAfee. But McAfee ended up selling the property to the Japanese-based Fujiki Corporation, which completed the golf course and clubhouse and opened the development to the public in late 1994.
McAfee was also the founder of a popular anti-virus software company and played a big role in the dawning of the Internet era. His lavish home in Teller County turned into legendary status and was the subject of a plethora of rumors and speculation. McAfee’s lifestyle was the subject of many articles in the regional and national media.
However, the economic crash reportedly hit McAfee hard and he sold his home and many possessions during a well-publicized auction. According to some reports, McAfee’s net worth dwindled from $100 million to $4 million. He lived in Belize for the last several years, but had run-ins with the police. The police raided his home last April in search of guns and drugs. No arrests, though, occurred.
According to some media reports, McAfee is wanted for questioning by police due to disputes he had with his neighbor over dogs McAfee kept at his beachside villa. The murder victim complained about several of the dogs, who may have been poisoned.