UPDATED: Internet ‘hatchet hitchhiker’ arrested on murder charges
Police in New Jersey are now warning residents to consider the 24-year-old hitchhiker who became an Internet celebrity earlier this year armed and dangerous, as they pursue him on murder charges.
WABC-TV reported on Wednesday that an arrest warrant has been issued for Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, or, “Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker,” as he became known online, in connection with the death of 73-year-old Joseph Galfy, Jr.
Update, 9:46 p.m. EST: McGillvary was arrested Thursday night. More details below.
Galfy, an attorney, was found dead in his home in Clark on May 13, 2013. An autopsy revealed that he died due to blunt force trauma.
McGillvary shot to national prominence after giving an interview describing his involvement in a Feb. 1 assault against a California public utilities worker. At the time, McGillvary was hitching a ride with the suspect in that case, a 54-year-old man who allegedly claimed he was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and subsequently testified against him in court.
According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, McGillvary wrote a Facebook post on Tuesday suggesting he had been assaulted and drugged.
“What would you do if you woke up with a groggy head, metallic taste in your mouth, in a strangers house,” he said in the post. “Walked to the mirror and seen … dripping from the side of your face from your mouth, and started wretching, realizing that someone had drugged, raped, and (had sex with you)? what would you do?”
Authorities said McGillvary, who relies on strangers for transport, food and lodging, has cut his hair to change his appearance and was last seen at a light rail station near Haddonfield, New Jersey. He has also allegedly used the names Kai Lawrence, Caleb Kai Lawrence and Kai Nicodemus.
Update, 9:46 p.m. EST: The Associated Press reported that McGillvary was arrested at a bus station in Philadelphia. After being processed, he will be sent to New Jersey, where his bail has been set at $3 million.
“I believe that everyone is a little safer with this person off the streets,” said Theodore Romankow, the prosecutor for Union County in New Jersey.
Watch WABC’s report, aired Wednesday, below.
[Image via “Kai the Hatchet Guy” Facebook fan page]