Fresno Beehive

What happened to Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker?

After five years, Caleb “Kai" McGillvary will finally get his day in court. His murder trail is expected to begin in January, 2019.
After five years, Caleb “Kai" McGillvary will finally get his day in court. His murder trail is expected to begin in January, 2019. AP

Inspired by a search of Fresno GIFs, here’s a name from the files of “whatever happened to:”

Caleb Lawrence McGillvary.

That’s “Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker” for anyone plugged into social media in 2013. For those who weren’t, McGillvary hit full-on Internet celebrity-status after an altercation (and video interview) in Fresno, involving a free ride and a hatchet (hence the nickname).

For weeks, there was much ado about Kai. He got his own auto tune tune, when auto tuning was all the rage, and shout-outs on “The Colbert Report” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Then, McGillvary showed up in New Jersey, the suspect in a murder case that involved alleged sexual encounters and was as shocking as it was not all that surprising. He was eventually arrested and, as of 2016, was still in jail awaiting trial. In March, the news site NJ Today reported that an attorney for “Internet celebrity Caleb ‘Kai’ McGillvary has filed a motion to toss out charges against him.” In those four years, McGillvary tried to commit suicide, wrote to New Jersey governor Chris Christie and claimed authorities destroyed and/or failed to collect evidence in his case.

He’s also taken to recording songs and/or musing from jail, like this one posted on the Youtube page KaiSongBird, last week:

On a side note, Jessob Reisbeck, the KMPH reporter who initially broke the story is now an anchor on FOX 6 WakeUp in Wisconsin. Kai is obviously still part of his staff bio.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

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