In February, a Fox affiliate in Fresno, Calif., sent a camera crew to the scene of a roadside crime.
Upon arrival, the TV reporter had the good fortune to interview the key witness: an enthusiastically profane hitchhiker named Kai, who energetically told the tale of how he had stopped a delusional fat man from attacking a woman by coming up behind him and bludgeoning him with a hatchet.
“People say don’t hitchhike, this is what happens,” Kai said in the clip. “Well, at least I was here.”
The clip made its way onto YouTube, and “Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker” became an unintentional celebrity.
However now a homeless internet celebrity “Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker”, real name Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, is now a suspect in a murder investigation.
McGillvary, 24, was arrested at a Philadelphia bus station Thursday evening and charged with the murder of Joseph Galfy Jr., a 73-year-old attorney.
The victim, Joseph Galfy, was found inside his home on Starlite Drive on May 13, 2013 after officers received a call to check on his well-being, WABC reports. An autopsy performed the following day determined that Galfy died as a result of blunt force trauma.
Galfy’s body was found two days after authorities said he met McGillvary in New York City. Galfy, 73, was found wearing only his underwear and socks by police who went to his home to check on his well-being.
According to Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow, McGillvary’s whereabouts are not currently known, and authorities have yet to reveal how they came to identify the drifter as a suspect. Romankov will address the murder investigation in a press conference on Thursday.
Romankow added in his statement that McGillvary, a 24-year-old drifter, had cut his hair in an attempt to conceal his now-famous appearance. The hitchhiker was last seen at a light-rail station near Haddonfield, N.J., and is considered armed and dangerous.
“I am grateful for the overwhelming response and dedicated effort by the public and law enforcement that led to this arrest,” Romankow said in a statement. “I believe that everyone is a little safer with this person off the streets.”
“This man was well-known. That doesn’t mean he did not or could not become involved in a crime,” Romankow told reporters.
“We believe he has murdered someone – an attorney by the way who was in the county, was well respected, well regarded for well over 40 years.
“As far as we’re concerned, I don’t care who he is. We’re looking for him,” the prosecutor said.
Statements posted on McGillvary’s Facebook page following the homicide indicated the encounter was sexual in nature, Romankow said, though he declined to go into specific detail, reports the Huff Post.
On his Facebook page, McGillvary’s last post, dated Tuesday, asks “what would you do?” if you awoke in a stranger’s house and found you’d been drugged and sexually assaulted. One commenter suggests hitting him with a hatchet – and McGillvary’s final comment on the post says, “I like your idea.”
Romankow didn’t know why the two men were in contact with each other. Investigators also don’t know what the motive was for the murder, but they know that the two men were together Sunday evening, the prosecutor said, reports CNN.
McGillvary met Galfy on Saturday in Times Square, then spent at least two nights at his home on a cul-de-sac in Clark, a quiet community about 20 miles west of New York, Romankow said.
His movements after that included two trips to meet a fan in Asbury Park, a trip to Philadelphia and another to Glassboro in southern New Jersey before he took a train bound for Philadelphia, authorities said.
McGillvary will be processed in Philadelphia and sent to back to New Jersey in the coming days, Romankow said. His bail is set at $3 million.