By Craig Kapitan van
A prolific TikTok user from Invercargill who racked up millions of views on his videos before disappearing from the social media platform has been arrested in the United States on charges of attempted murder.
Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to Herald that Darren John Maheno, 45, has been in custody for the past two weeks.
Officers were called to an address in Woodland Hills, a northwestern suburb in the Los Angeles metro area, for an alleged domestic violence incident about 4:15 a.m. Sept. 6.
At a hearing two days later, Maheno pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, domestic violence and illegal threats.
He remains in jail since his arrest and his bail has been set at US$1.03 million (NZ$1.75 million).
Attempted murder in California carries a maximum penalty of life with the possibility of parole if found to be intentional, willful and premeditated. It is punishable by up to nine years in prison if found not intentional, willful or premeditated.
Maheno had over 165,000 followers on TikTok and his videos had racked up 2.8 million likes before deactivating his account last year.
His arrest has been widely rumored on TikTok in recent days, but with many posts falsely stating that he was charged with murder.
A mutual friend of Maheno and his partner shared blurry photos of Maheno’s partner in a hospital bed and snippets of a Messenger exchange with the woman. She gave him permission to post the screenshots on social media to prevent misinformation about the case.
The woman, said to be home now and recovering, did not respond to a request from the Herald to speak with her.
This story was originally published by the NZ Herald.