The claim: US government is holding John McAfee’s body one year after death
More than a year after software entrepreneur John McAfee was found dead, some social media users are claiming his body is in the American government’s custody.
“Cover Up? One Year After His Death John McAfee’s Corpse Still Being Held By U.S. Government,” read a June 27 Facebook post by the Anonymous hacking group. The post was shared more than 600 times in two days.
But there’s no indication that the remains of McAfee, who was found dead in a Barcelona prison cell in June 2021, are in the United States. Several people in McAfee’s inner circle have said his body is still in Spain a year after his death and are calling for authorities to release his remains to his widow.
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USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the claim for comment.
Family members call for Spanish authorities to release McAfee’s body
Neither McAfee’s legal team nor his family members have indicated his body is being held by American authorities.
“I can confirm that the body is not being held by the US government,” attorney Andrew Gordon of Gordon Law Group told USA TODAY in a June 27 email. Gordon was the lead attorney for McAfee’s U.S. defense team, according to a June 2021 news release by the law firm announcing McAfee’s death.
He did not provide further details on where McAfee’s body was being held.
McAfee’s verified Twitter profile includes links to news articles reporting that his body was still being held by Spanish authorities. It’s unclear who took over the page’s operation after McAfee’s death.
McAfee’s Spanish lawyer, Javier Villalba, told Reuters a judge ruled his body can’t be released until an appeal by the family for autopsy records is resolved. A spokesperson for the regional government’s justice department said his corpse is in a Barcelona morgue, Reuters reported.
Neither Villalba’s office nor the Catalan justice department responded to USA TODAY’s requests for comment.
McAfee’s account also tweeted a link to a Change.org petition calling for Spanish authorities to release McAfee’s body. The petition had been signed more than 3,000 times by July 1.
Several tweets in June and July by Janice McAfee, John McAfee’s widow, indicated her late husband’s remains were still in Spain. That included posts on July 3 and June 22, in which she urged people to sign the Change.org petition “so he can finally be laid to rest.”
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She and John McAfee’s daughter, Jen McAfee, appeared on podcasts in recent weeks in which they said McAfee’s body was still in Spain.
Other media outlets have reported on the push for McAfee’s body to be returned to the United States.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that U.S. authorities are holding John McAfee’s body one year after his death. His U.S. lawyer told USA TODAY the claim was untrue, while his other legal counsel and family members have said his body remains in Spain.
Our fact-check sources:
- Janice McAfee, July 3, Tweet
- Change.org, accessed July 1, Petition: Release John McAfee’s Remains to His Wife
- John McAfee, accessed July 1, Twitter profile
- Andrew Gordon, June 27, Email to USA TODAY
- Deadline, June 26, John McAfee Family Presses Spanish Authorities For Further Details On Anniversary Of His Death
- MarketWatch, June 25, John McAfee died a year ago, but his body remains in Spain
- Reuters, June 23, John McAfee’s corpse still in Spanish morgue a year after his death
- Sky News, June 23, John McAfee’s body still in a Spanish morgue – one year after he was found dead in his prison cell
- Janice McAfee, June 22, Tweet
- Bad Crypto Podcast, June 12, An Open Conversation with Janice McAfee
- Gordon Law Group, June 23, 2021, Gordon Law Group Confirms the Death of John McAfee
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