John McAfee, the anti-virus software founder who has been evading Belizean authorities in a homicide inquiry abroad, on Thursday walked outside a South Beach hotel and said, “It’s good to be back in America.”
He also said that he was unhappy with the food he got in jaiil in Belize, adding he wanted some sushi.
McAfee, a 67-year-old British native, was deported to the United States from Guatemala Wednesday after sneaking in illegally from Belize, where police have wanted to question him in connection with the death of a U.S. expatriate who lived near him on an island off Belize's coast.
Thursday, speaking to reporters outside the Beacon Hotel in South Beach, McAfee said that his girlfriend, 20-year-old Belizean Samantha Vanegas, and another friend remain abroad. He said his worry now is getting them to the United States, where it’s safe.
He said both women have since fled from Belize to Guatemala and said he was willing to stay in Miami until the women arrived to meet him there.
“If anyone in the State Department is listening to this, I desperately need help getting visas for those two young women who have also fled Belize,” McAfee said. “They are in Guatemala legally. They cannot go back into Belize, so please help.”
McAfee says he did not kill the neighbor in Belize and feared his own life would be in danger if he turned himself in to Belizean authorities. He has not been charged with any crime.
McAfee said U.S. authorities have made no efforts to question him since he arrived in Miami.
"Why would they want to question me, about what?" he asked.
The eccentric millionaire was typically chatty and said he was anxious for a decent breakfast after days of eating terrible Guatemalan prison food. He bristled as reporters repeatedly asked him why he won't answer questions from officials in Belize, denying he was under investigation.
"They just want to question me, they just have a couple of questions for me, that's not investigating me," he said.
In an ABC interview featured on Thursday's "Good Morning America," McAfee said he had been faking illness in Guatemala. Asked if his apparent heart problem in court there was a ruse, he said, "Of course. It kept me from going back to Belize."
He said all his money and assets were still in banks in Belize and he had left Guatemala with just his clothes and shoes.
He held up a stack of 5-dollar bills and said a stranger had given them to him after he arrived in Miami.
McAfee also said he had made up stories while he was on the run to gain news coverage, although it was unclear what parts of the tale he was referring to.
"What's a better story (than) millionaire madman on the run?" he told ABC.
It remains unclear whether U.S. authorities have any interest in talking to McAfee. An FBI spokesman in Miami, James Marshall, said the agency wasn't involved with McAfee's return to the U.S.
Authorities from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals office and the U.S. attorney's office didn't respond to questions about whether McAfee would be questioned or detained in the U.S.
Officials said there was no active arrest warrant for McAfee that would justify taking him into custody.
Wednesday night in South Florida, he said a group of federal agents escorted him to an airport taxi stand, where he caught a cab to the hotel.
"I had the warmest welcome of my life. The captain patted me on the shoulders and said, 'We're here to help you, sir, please come with us," McAfee said.
McAfee sat in a coach-class seat on the American Airlines flight to South Florida, according to the airline. Other passengers on the flight said McAfee was escorted off the aircraft before they were allowed to disembark.
Police in Belize have wanted to question McAfee about the November killing of American expatriate Gregory Viant Faull, who lived a couple of houses down from McAfee's compound on Ambergris Caye, off Belize's Caribbean coast.
McAfee has acknowledged that his dogs were bothersome and that Faull had complained about them days before some of the dogs were poisoned, but denies killing Faull.
McAfee was in hiding in Belize for weeks after police pronounced him a person of interest in the killing. Belizean authorities have urged him to show up for questioning, but have not lodged any formal charges against him.
McAfee has said he feared he would be killed if he turned himself in to Belizean authorities.
Belize's prime minister, Dean Barrow, has expressed doubts about McAfee's mental state, saying: "I don't want to be unkind to the gentleman, but I believe he is extremely paranoid, even bonkers."
McAfee is an acknowledged practical joker who has dabbled in yoga, ultra-light aircraft and the production of herbal medications.
He has led an eccentric life since he sold his stake in the software company named after him in the early 1990s and moved to Belize about three years ago to lower his taxes.
He told The New York Times in 2009 that he had lost all but $4 million of his $100 million fortune in the U.S. financial crisis. However, a story on the Gizmodo website quoted him as describing that claim as "not very accurate at all."