You might remember Kai, Pauly Shore's Encino Man character come to life, from earlier this year when he helped save a Fresno woman who was being attacked by a violent racist. Kai's chill-bro demeanor and quick thinking in the face of danger—he beat the crazed man down with hatchet blows to his head—briefly made him the internet's new favorite meme. But was the drifter hero everyone was celebrating also a deadly maniac himself?
Today authorities in Union County, New Jersey, issued an arrest warrant for Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, aka Kai Lawrence aka Kai Nicodemus. The 24-year-old is reportedly wanted for questioning in the death of Joseph Galfy, who was found in his home on Monday dead from blunt force trauma.
Early reports haven't revealed Kai's connection to Galfy, who was a 73-year-old lawyer, but authorities believe Kai has cut his hair in an effort to alter his appearance and is now on the run. He was last seen at a light rail station in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and police have issued a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Here is a clue, perhaps: About three months ago, shortly after the Kai viral video made its rounds, I saw a guy who looked a lot like Kai buying weed at a bus stop in Venice Beach. It appeared as if he paid a man to go into a medical marijuana dispensary for him—he probably didn't have a prescription card—while he loitered across the street. To pass the time as he waited, he started up a conversation with a homeless man, who offered him a swig from his airplane bottle of Jack Daniels. The Kai lookalike accepted the whisky and took a quick slug before lighting up a cigarette. I almost considered asking him if he was indeed Kai, but nobody likes a star-fucker. I got on my bus when it arrived and never saw him again.
John Cook, Gawker editor-in-chief, has said that if this clue leads to Kai's arrest, I must give the reward money to Gawker. This is a point of contention.
Update: A Facebook user called "Caleb Kai Lawrence Yodhehwawheh," who appears in numerous past photos and postings to be Caleb "Kai" Lawrence McGillvary, posted this to his page on Tuesday, the day after police found Joseph Galfy's body:
A source in the Union County Prosecutor's Office would tell Gawker only that they "are aware" of the Facebook post.
This post originally reported McGillvary's age as 34 instead of 24. We regret the error.