John McAfee

Cyberspace has been abuzz with reports that John McAfee – the elusive and eccentric Silicon Valley software magnate who’s been on the lam since one of his neighbors was shot to death — has been captured. The flames were fanned by a post on McAfee’s own blog, which somehow seems not to know where McAfee is; but some posters on the blog have been authoritatively stating that McAfee and a female companion were nabbed near the border of Mexico and Belize.

Cops in Belize City tell me they don’t know anything about that, referring me to their counterparts in San Pedro, the beachside town some 160 miles away where McAfee has made his home in recent years. But Mayor Daniel Guerrero said: “It’s not true.” While he said rumors have been flying since McAfee gave a brief and bizarre interview to CNN, Guerrero said local cops have assured him McAfee’s still on the loose. He added that police have been conducting house-to-house searches on the north end of Ambergris Caye, the island where San Pedro sits.

Also debunking the Paul is dead John is captured reports is Jorge Aldana, a senior reporter at the San Pedro Sun newspaper who’s been covering the case and chatting periodically with my colleague, Dan Nakaso (and probably every other reporter in the Western Hemisphere). “I can tell you positively that John McAfee has not been captured,” Aldana said Saturday night.

And as proof, he said he was talking to me from a late-night function that the country’s Minister of National Security, who oversees all law enforcement operations, was also attending. “He’s shaking his head,” Aldana said. “”I’m telling you, John has not been captured.” (He wouldn’t put the minister on the phone, but Guerrero was at the same event and verified the minister was there.)

Gregory Faull in August 2012 - Reuters

Gregory Faull in August 2012 – Reuters

Aldana added that McAfee’s blog — on which the world’s most interesting software executive also has claimed to have disguised himself to spy on police searching his home — “has been very deceitful.” Police, for the record, have said they merely want to question McAfee about the November murder of his feuding neighbor, Gregory Faull; but McAfee insists he’ll be killed himself if taken into custody.

Peter Delevett Peter Delevett (184 Posts)

Peter Delevett covers startups and venture capital for the San Jose Mercury News. He's been a journalist in Silicon Valley since the dot-com daze.