Just as the Internet made Caleb "Kai" Lawrence McGillvary a cyber celebrity, viral news of him as a fugitive - wanted in the slaying of a North Jersey lawyer - led to his capture, law enforcement agencies said in interviews Friday.
And while McGillvary, "the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker," lived large for months as a YouTube sensation, he looked slight and dazed Friday night as he heard the fugitive charge against him read on closed-circuit TV.
Arraigned about 5 p.m. in Philadelphia before Magistrate Sheila M. Bedford, McGillvary responded, "I hear you," after she asked if he understood the charge.
More than just hearing, do you understand? the judge asked. McGillvary said he did.
He was held without bail and scheduled for a court appearance May 28.
In the hours after the Union County Prosecutor's Office identified McGillvary, 24, on Thursday as the person they believe killed Joseph Galfy, 73, in his Clark, N.J., home last weekend, witnesses across South Jersey and Philadelphia contacted authorities with sightings that helped lead to McGillvary's arrest Thursday evening at Philadelphia's Greyhound terminal.
Those witnesses included:
A supervisor of the Starbucks store at 10th and Chestnut Streets who said she called 911 after McGillvary came in and ordered a small coffee, apparently on the way to the bus terminal.
Homeless people, who alerted a transit officer after they recognized McGillvary as a man they had seen earlier at the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden.
A New Jersey bus driver who contacted police after he reportedly showed a passenger a news story and photograph of McGillvary and the passenger said he had seen him this week in his Cherry Hill neighborhood.
"I am grateful for the support of fellow law enforcement agencies as well as the support of the public," said Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
McGillvary, an apparent drifter, was widely known on YouTube and Facebook as "Kai, the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker" after a TV interview posted in February from Fresno, Calif., in which he described foiling an attack on a woman by hitting her assailant on the head with a hatchet.
The Prosecutor's Office said he and Galfy met in Times Square on Saturday and Galfy took the younger man home. In a Facebook posting a few days after the slaying, McGillvary talked about being drugged and raped. Galfy was found Monday by police, dead in his bed, wearing only underwear and socks.
Based on law enforcement statements, it appears that McGillvary spent Monday through Thursday in the South Jersey and Philadelphia areas. In the early part of the week, he spent time with two female "fans," and stayed at the Glassboro home of one of them Monday night. He had spent part of that day with the other woman in Philadelphia, according to the Prosecutor's Office. The women drove him to Haddonfield, the Prosecutor's Office said.
Other reports had McGillvary getting on a Philadelphia-bound PATCO train Tuesday in Haddonfield.
McGillvary was apparently in the vicinity of the Haddonfield station Tuesday, but borough detectives learned that he had gone to Cherry Hill, and were able to provide police there with an address, according to Haddonfield Police Chief John Banning and Commissioner Ed Borden.
Cherry Hill Detective Sgt. Joseph Vitarelli said Haddonfield was tipped off by the NJ Transit bus driver, who showed the passenger a news account and photo of McGillvary on his phone and the passenger said he had seen the man with a female neighbor that week.
The bus driver pulled over at the closest police station, which was Haddonfield, to report that information, Vitarelli said. And the passenger also called the Union County prosecutor's tip line.
McGillvary was not at the Cherry Hill address when police arrived Thursday, but the woman he was believed to have been there with, Samantha Blaker, 26, was arrested for having drug paraphernalia and violating a restraining order to stay away from the property, Vitarelli said.
Delaware River Port Authority spokesman Tim Ireland said that according to information obtained by DRPA police, a male relative of Blaker said he gave McGillvary money to travel, and McGillvary took a shower in the yard with a garden hose before leaving for the Woodcrest PATCO station in Cherry Hill.
Thursday afternoon, DRPA police were able to find a man on surveillance tapes that they believed was McGillvary at the station and later saw him exiting the Eighth and Market station that afternoon, Ireland said.
Philadelphia and SEPTA police were alerted. City police approached McGillvary at the Greyhound waiting area, and he was taken without incident, a city police spokeswoman said.