Davis Wolfgang Hawke was found dead in a burnt-out SUV in Squamish, B.C., on June 14, 2017. Police said his death was a homicide. (IHIT)

Davis Wolfgang Hawke was found dead in a burnt-out SUV in Squamish, B.C., on June 14, 2017. Police said his death was a homicide. (IHIT)

Father of man found dead 3 years ago in Squamish offers $10,000 for information on death

Davis Wolfgang Hawke had been a Neo-Nazi turned renegade internet spammer

The father of a Neo-Nazi turned renegade internet spammer whose body was identified this week — years after it was found in a burnt-out vehicle — said news of his son’s death is not entirely unexpected.

Davis Wolfgang Hawke — who was born Andrew Britt Greenbaum and also went by the alias Jesse James — was found dead of a gunshot wound inside a burned pickup truck in 2017, but his body went unidentified until mid-October.

That’s when Hyman Greenbaum, Hawke’s father, said police knocked on his door in Medfield, Mass., and told him the news.

Greenbaum said he and his wife gave their DNA to cops some years ago in the event of just such a situation.

“He sometimes seemed to hang out with people who might not have been all that good people,” Greenbaum said.

The last time Greenbaum spoke with his son was about 15 years ago when he was being sued by AOL, he said.

“He didn’t want to settle the suit or anything, so he basically decided to leave and hide his assets and disappear.”

In 2005, AOL won a $12.8 million judgment against Hawke, but was unable to contact him to collect the money. The company accused Hawke of violating U.S. and Virginia anti-spam laws by sending unwanted emails to its subscribers.

Rather than collecting cash through conventional channels, AOL said it planned to dig up his family’s backyard because it believed he had buried gold and platinum there.

Greenbaum said the company didn’t follow through on that plan, but did gather depositions from him, his wife, and Hawke’s grandparents, who had receipts showing that he bought some gold.

At the height of Hawke’s internet activities, experts believed he and his partners earned more than $600,000 each month — much of it in cash — by sending unwanted sales pitches over the internet for loans, pornography, jewelry and prescription drugs.

The head of J.J. Teaparty Inc. of Boston, Miles Coggan, told AOL’s lawyers that Hawke bought $350,879.50 worth of gold from the company between August 2003 and March 2004, court papers said. The company representative told lawyers Hawke claimed to have earned the money “selling pills on the internet.”

Greenbaum said he believes his son had some gold.

“He told me he was going to bury it in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, which at the time I didn’t think much of,” he said.

“He told me he was going to convert his assets to gold and disappear.”

But Greenbaum only learned of his son’s fate when police got in touch earlier this month.

“We really didn’t know where he gone or what name he was using or anything. We tried to locate him from internet and things like that but not with any success,” he said.

“We thought maybe he’d gone to South America or Central America. As it turns out we found out he was in Canada, living under the name Jesse James.”

Greenbaum described his son as a “good kid” who was academically bright and a gifted chess player — but eventually became a Neo-Nazi in an effort to “gain power and influence.”

He tried to organize a march in Washington DC in the late ’90s, which the father described as a “total flop.” He said that failure marked the moment when his son gave up on Neo-Nazi activities, Greenbaum said.

“At that point he got more into this spamming activity, which is what got him sued by AOL,” he said.

Greenbaum is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can give information that can lead to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for his son’s death.

Greenbaum said that when he closes his eyes, he thinks about taking his son to chess tournaments or on climbing trips in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

He believes his son carried a bit of the mountain climbing passion with him, saying Hawke was well-known in Squamish as an avid climber.

He plans on visiting some of the places in Squamish where his son spent the last few years of his life, he said.

He is “in a way kind of glad” that Hawke’s mother died first, Greenbaum said. Peggy Greenbaum died in April last year.

“She passed still wondering what happened to him, and we both were hoping he might come back here one day.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2020.

—with files from The Associated Press.

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press

crime

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hugh Dobbie’s South Surrey-based tech business Yare Media was recently acquired by California’s Visaic Inc. (SFU photo)
South Surrey tech company acquired by California business

Hugh Dobbie founded Yare Media in 2016, and ‘will remain involved’

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

Joy Johnson, seen here during an installation ceremony on Oct. 22, is Simon Fraser University’s 10th president and vice-chancellor. (Submitted photo)
SFU’s Surrey campus tackling COVID-19-related research

‘We can learn now,’ SFU president Joy Johnson said, ‘so should something like this happen again we’ll be prepared. We have to learn from this current pandemic’

Mayor Darryl Walker gives a welcoming hug to Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell at the inaugural meeting of the current White Rock council in 2018. (Alex Browne photo)
White Rock council under fire for inaugural prayer

BC Humanist Association charges city violated Supreme Court ruling two years ago

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld is taking heat over using a ableist slur to refer to three Black Press employees. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)
BC School Trustees Association president keeps heat on Chilliwack Trustee Barry Neufeld

In a news release, Stephanie Higginson called on voters to take careful note of Neufeld’s behaviour

Most Read