Fears mount over missing Webroot founder

Paranoid man goes walkabout


Fears are growing over the safety of the founder of anti-spyware firm Webroot following his disappearance late last month.

Steven Thomas, 36, who has bipolar disorder, was last seen in the early evening of 30 June at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii. Thomas and his wife, Candis, were planning to relocate to Boulder, Colorado - where Webroot is based - at the time of his disappearance.

Thomas stayed on a few extra days after his wife's departure on 27 June to meet his mother and cousin at the Sheraton. At around 5pm he told his family that he needed to visit the bathroom. He never returned and hasn't been seen since.

Police describe him as "emotionally distraught". According to his wife, Thomas is suffering from a dangerous set of delusions. "He thinks everyone on the island is out to get him," Candis Thomas said, the Star Bulletin reports. "He thinks the military is involved, he thinks that aliens are involved, and he's just been in a real delusion state of being fearful."

Thomas and business partner Kristen Talley founded Webroot in 1997. Its main line was a Windows clean-up utility, WindowsWasher. The firm expanded into the emerging anti-spyware market at around the same time David Moll and various ex-McAfee personnel joined the business. Thomas and Talley sold the business to venture capitalists in late 2004 for around $108m. Neither is part of the current management of Webroot.

Since parting ways with Webroot, Thomas has dabbled in real estate and the stock market. He expressed suicidal thoughts in the days leading up to his disappearance. Standing beside his mother on a hotel balcony, Thomas reportedly said the balcony was not high enough "for what I need to do".

Thomas was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in April after an episode when he was arrested after running naked around his Lanikai neighbourhood. He has refused medication. His family are praying that he has come to no serious harm. "He may be really hiding because he's just afraid of everyone," Candis Thomas said.

The missing man is six feet two inches tall, of medium build and with brown hair and green eyes. He was last seen wearing a light-green T-shirt, shorts and slippers, though his family think he might have gone home to change prior to his disappearance. Thomas has a tattoo featuring the American Indian Hopi tribe's symbol of luck on his lower left leg.

Anyone with information about Thomas's whereabouts is asked to call police.®

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