Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker’s parents speak on his troubled childhood shattering his claims

Gregory Robinson

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Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker’s parents speak on his troubled childhood shattering his claims

Featured Image Credit: Netflix / Ici Radio-Canada Télé

The parents of the viral man known as the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker have spoken out on their son's troubled childhood, saying he struggled with behavioural issues his entire life and was institutionalised.

Caleb McGillivary, also known as Kai Lawrence, gained internet fame in 2013 when he was 24 but is now serving time behind bars for murder. He's now the focus of a new Netflix documentary, which was released earlier this week:


McGillivary’s father, Gil McGillivary of Hawkesbury, Ontario, shared details about his son’s time in treatment homes and his struggles following his parents’ divorce.

“Caleb had a real tough life,” he told New Jersey's Star Ledger in 2013, shortly after his son was charged with homicide in May 2013 and three months after his viral video.

The concerned dad revealed that his son was born and raised in Canada before he went off to the US.

“He was in treatment homes until he turned 18 and they cut him loose and washed their hands of him.

“Caleb made accusations that he was physically and mentally abused at one of the homes. The system let my son down.”

Mr McGillivary explained that he and his now-ex wife, Shirley, divorced when their son was four-years-old and he lost custody.

Gil McGillivary. Credit: Radio Canada
Gil McGillivary. Credit: Radio Canada

Shirley, from St. Paul, Alberta and whose surname was withheld, says despite her son’s behavioural problems, he graduated from high school and took college classes.

She disputes Mr McVilliary’s claim he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and told the publication that she hadn’t spoken to her son since Autumn 2012, when he was living in Canada. She hadn’t heard from him since then either.

Mr McGillivary, who went on to remarry and had three children, said in 2013 that he last saw his son in December 2010.

"I believe that Caleb didn’t like the fact that I remarried, that I didn’t rescue him from the treatment home, that I have three kids from my present wife," he said.

"But my children, they love their brother, and they’re shocked at what has happened."

When he spoke to his son in February 2013, the same month his viral video was released, McGillivary said he didn’t want anything to do with his dad.

"He thought I was trying to get into the public notoriety of his rise to fame because of being his dad. That wasn’t the way it was going to happen, but I respected his wishes because he’s an adult."

The interview went viral. Credit: Netflix
The interview went viral. Credit: Netflix

McGillivary was homeless when he went viral from a news report in which he gave an account about saving a woman from being attacked.

"So I f**king ran up behind with a hatchet... Smash, smash, smash," McGillivary said in the infamous news segment.

He was on trial for the murder of New Jersey attorney Joseph Galfy only three months later, which he claimed was self-defence.

He had met Galfy in Times Square, New York, before returning with him to his home in New Jersey. Two days later, the attorney was found beaten to death in his bedroom, wearing only underwear and socks.

Jurors in New Jersey's Union County convicted the Canadian of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to 57 years in prison.

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is now on Netflix.

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, Netflix, True crime

Gregory Robinson
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