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3 detained in killing of Internet pioneer's neighbor in Belize

By the CNN Wire Staff
November 14, 2012 -- Updated 2223 GMT (0623 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The detentions are routine in such investigations, police say
  • McAfee acknowledges differences with the neighbor, Wired's Joshua Davis says
  • McAfee is a "very eccentric multi-millionaire" who founded an Internet security firm
  • McAfee left the firm he founded in 1994

(CNN) -- Three people have been detained for questioning in Belize in the weekend killing of Gregory Faull, a neighbor of Internet pioneer John McAfee, who was being sought for questioning, police said.

The detentions are routine in such investigations, said Raphael Martinez, a spokesman for the National Police in the Central American country.

Faull, 52, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the back of the head on Sunday in his home near San Pedro Belize, on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye, Martinez said.

Faull was killed after four of 11 dogs belonging to McAfee were fatally poisoned, said Wired Magazine Contributing Editor Joshua Davis, who said he had spent more than 100 hours with McAfee in recent months. Faull had frequently complained about the dogs barking, Davis said.

Tech pioneer on the run in Belize

"The dogs were poisoned on Friday night, they died very quickly," Davis said. "Sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, Mr. Faull was killed."

Martinez said a person working for McAfee called police Saturday about a poisoned dog; when police arrived at McAfee's residence, they found the dogs had been buried.

Martinez said there had been "some sort of misunderstanding" before Saturday between McAfee and Faull about the dogs.

McAfee, 67, told Davis on Tuesday that he did not kill his neighbor, the reporter said. "He says that he's had very little contact with Greg over the past three years," Davis said. "They've spoken maybe 50 words total. Nonetheless, there was antagonism there. McAfee admits that."

McAfee told Davis that, when police visited his home on Sunday, he hid from them.

"McAfee saw them coming and he dug a hole in the sand and buried himself in the sand, he says, and he put a cardboard box over his head so he could breathe," Davis said. "He said it was extremely uncomfortable, but he believes that the police will kill him if he turns himself in."

"My goodness," Martinez said when asked about McAfee's reported fear. "He needs to come in so that we can clear the air. We are law-abiding people here. We follow the laws to the letter. We believe at this point that he has absolutely no fear of being killed by anybody."

McAfee is not a suspect, Martinez said. He is a person police want to talk with "to clarify the situation, to allay the fears of everybody that perhaps he is indeed involved in the murder of his neighbor," whose house is about 300 yards away, Martinez said.

Investigators were pursuing multiple leads, he added. On Wednesday, police said they had filed weapons charges against McAfee's bodyguard, William Mulligan, 29, and Mulligan's wife, Stefanie Mulligan, 22. The two are accused of keeping a firearm and ammunition without a license. They were arrested on McAfee's property, police said.

In a telephone interview with Davis that was posted on Wired's website, McAfee said Tuesday morning that he was hiding from authorities. "Obviously, given enough time, they will track me down," he said. "It's just a matter of time. In the meantime I'd like to get out as much information as I can about the wrongs in this country." He said a number of the country's political figures were corrupt.

McAfee has a history of problems with the government, Davis said.

In April, a gang-suppression squad raided one of his properties and charged him with running a methamphetamine lab and illegal arms possession, Davis said. The charges were dropped.

"Ever since then, McAfee thinks he's been harassed by the police," Davis said. "And I directly confronted him on this and I said, 'Maybe you're paranoid.' He talks about police hiding in bushes and stalking."

Davis said he "wondered if there was something bad that was going to happen."

"I do agree that he is a very eccentric multi-millionaire and I also felt fear with him," he said.

McAfee founded the Internet security company that bears his name, but left it in 1994, said company spokeswoman Kimberly Eichorn.

McAfee graduated in 1967 with a degree in mathematics from Roanoke College, according to the Virginia school. He went on to found several tech companies and to launch groundbreaking products, including the voice-recognition system Interpath Inc. in 1981, McAfee in 1988, and the instant messaging pioneer Tribal Voice in 1996.

Faull, a construction contractor from central Florida, moved this year to Belize "to transition to more adventures based in Belize," his family said in a statement.

Several years ago, he had bought a house on Ambergris Cay in Belize that had been damaged in a hurricane, the family said. "Greg worked part-time for the past three years to rebuild the home," it said. "He recently completed work and had the property ready to offer as a vacation rental when he was murdered."

CNN's Karen Smith and Alan Duke contributed to this report.

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