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Kai saga turns dark, Day 2

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By now, it’s pretty clear that Fresno’s infatuation with Kai, the famed — (you can insert some variation here using hatchet, hitchhiker or homeless/homefree descriptors) — has faded into something a lot less fun to write about. (And the Beehive did have its share of fun. Remember when we picked local actor Terry Lewis as a leading candidate to play him in the TV movie?)

As you know by now, Kai — who goes by Caleb L. McGillvary — was arrested Thursday for a murder committed in New Jersey. In a front-page Bee story today, reporters Jim Guy and Marc Benjamin fill you in on the details. And my Beehive colleague Joshua Tehee talked to local musicians Derek and Elizabeth Fujitsubo, and Omar Nare, to get their reactions to Kai’s downward spiral.

In developments today:

  • Kai’s neck tattoo helped a New Jersey resident lead police to the hitchhiker, New Jersey prosecutors said. [Los Angeles Times]
  • Life on the run for Kai ended when he asked for a cup of Starbucks coffee. He fled before police could arrive, but they tracked him down at a nearby bus terminal. [Associated Press]
  • A Facebook page called “Free Caleb “Kai” McGillvary From Persecution by the US Justice System” is drawing friends. [Facebook]
  • Jessob Reisbeck, the KMPH reporter who broke the Kai story (and who passed along info about the “Free Kai” Facebook page via Twitter), is following it once again. His initial interview with Kai in February, and the subsequent push from his station, helped turn Kai into an Internet celebrity. This time around, sadly, the reports have a more serious tone. “I hate that this is going down like this,” Reisbeck posted yesterday on Twitter. [KMPH]

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