The remains of cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee, who died last summer in a Spanish prison cell, could remain in that country most of 2022.
The legal process may last three to eight months after the former wife of McAfee appealed the decision this month by a Spanish judge who ruled McAfee’s death a suicide, according to Joy Athanasiou, the lawyer representing McAfee’s daughter Jen.
McAfee, who died while awaiting extradition to the United States on federal charges of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion, ended his own life, according to a judge at a court in Martorell, a city outside Barcelona. The ruling confirmed the findings of the original autopsy.
“It is my understanding it could take months for a higher court to rule on the lower-court judge’s decision,” Athanasiou told MarketWatch. “And if the decision is the police report/autopsy was not thorough enough, there could be a re-investigation and medical examination of some sort that would take several more months.”
“The legal proceeding might last three to seven, eight months,” she said.
An appeal by Janice McAfee, the former wife of John, has only complicated and extended a bizarre fight over his remains. Janice contends her ex-husband died under mysterious circumstances and his original autopsy was incomplete. John’s daughter, Jen, believes it was an suicide and wants his remains cremated and returned to the United States.
Janice McAfee and her attorney could not be reached for comment.
Should an appellate panel of judges decide another autopsy is necessary, that would require a medical examiner to re-examine samples and tissue from McAfee’s body — perhaps as much as a year after he died.
John McAfee, 75, whose latter life was marred by outlandish behavior and serious accusations, launched the world’s first commercial antivirus software with McAfee MCFE in 1987, though he has not been actively involved with the company since the mid-1990s.
He was investigated in a murder of an American living in Belize in 2012, and returned to the U.S. before landing in trouble with Justice Department officials for what they contend was a pump-and-dump scheme involving cryptocurrency. He was arrested in October 2020 at Barcelona-El Prat Airport, and was found dead in his prison cell on June 23, 2021.