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William Bishop

A State Department employee murders his mother, wife, and three sons.


William Bradford Bishop

Suspect:

Gender: Male
DOB:8/1/36
Height: 6’1”
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown


An age progressed photo of Bishop


Police believe Bishop killed his family

CASE DETAILS


The bodies were burned in the woods

On March 2, 1976, a state park ranger in Columbia, North Carolina, responded to a report of a brush fire in a remote wooded area. As the ranger brought the fire under control, he found an empty gas can and a shovel. When the smoke cleared, the ranger also discovered the remains of five partially charred bodies in a shallow grave, three young boys, and two women.  

The victims' clothes had labels from expensive department stores in Bethesda, Maryland. The shovel came from a hardware store in the same area. However, the Bethesda police had no missing person's reports that they could link to the bodies, until six days later. The call came from a neighbor of William Bradford Bishop, a respected economist with the State Department.   Lt. Joe Sargent of the Montgomery County Police Department was first to arrive at the Bishop home:

"There was a common driveway to the neighbor's home and to the Bishop home. And I met the neighbor there to investigate the whereabouts of the family. It was rather routine to do an investigation like this. It's not unusual. And I wasn't overly concerned about it until I reached the front step of the home and I noticed there were blood drops on the front step. Upon opening the front door I saw blood droplets leading from the doorway thru the foyer and up a set of stairs that led to the upper bedroom level of the home. In going up the stairs I observed blood splatterings on the wall and in the one bedroom that I could see into, almost the entire ceiling and wall was completely splattered with blood. There was hardly a place you could put your hand where there wasn't blood splatterings. I'd been a police officer for approximately 12 years and this was the worst scene that I've ever observed."


He abandoned the car in Tennessee

Authorities were finally able to identify the five bodies: Brad Bishop's wife, Annette, his three sons, and his mother. There was no sign of Brad Bishop. Was he also a victim?   Or was there a far more sinister explanation for his disappearance?

Bishop worked for the State Department as a director of commercial practices and trade. To most of his co-workers, he seemed to be on the fast track to a high level job. But a co-worker, Roy A. Harrell, saw a different side of Brad Bishop:

"Brad Bishop had extensive experience overseas. He liked the international scene from the time he was in the army in Italy. Brad's career was very much on track.   Although he was exceedingly despondent about not getting a promotion."

Roy ran into Bishop just outside the State Department on the day the annual promotion list came out. Bishop said he had been once again passed over for a promotion.   According to Roy:

"He said, 'I think I'm getting the flu. I don't feel well at all and it's the reason I'm leaving work now.' So I helped him hail a taxi and I watched him drive out.'


Is Bishop living in Italy?

The next day Brad Bishop's family was found dead and he had disappeared.

On March 18, 1976, almost three weeks after the murders, a ranger in Tennessee discovered an abandoned station wagon. In the back he found what looked like dried blood. The car was registered to William Bradford Bishop. Bishop was now the prime suspect in the slaying of his own family. Wiley D. Thompson was an assistant special agent with Baltimore FBI:

"The courts will have to determine whether Brad Bishop is guilty of killing his family.   But there was enough evidence for a warrant to be issued for his arrest for homicide, based on the fact that there appeared to be premeditation in connection with the events that occurred on March 1st."

The authorities pieced together Bishop's activities leading up to the murders. According to Lt. Sargent, on the day he left the State Department, Bishop withdrew several hundred dollars from his bank account and went to a local hardware store and gas station:

"And as far as we know, after that he returned to his home, probably around 7:30 to 8:00 at night, after the children were put to bed."

Assistant Special Agent Thompson:

"Our investigation shows that Mrs. Bishop was probably killed first. She was found beside a book which she may have been reading at the time that she was killed.   The children were probably killed next, followed by Bishop's mother. They were all killed with a blunt instrument and none of the victims had an opportunity to defend themselves."

According to the FBI, Bishop loaded the five bodies into the family station wagon and headed 200 miles south to the countryside near Columbia, North Carolina.  

According to Bishop's co-worker, Roy Harrell, Bishop suffered from feelings of inadequacy:  

"Brad Bishop felt, from the time I knew him, that there was something lacking in himself.   This feeling was nourished constantly by both his mother and, to some degree, his wife, who constantly told him that he was inadequate and washed up and wasn't going anywhere in his career. And I think that he conceived in his mind that this was a way to, as he often said many times about other people, 'This would be a way of putting them in their place.'"

After buying a pair of tennis shoes near the site of the fire, Bishop drove 400 miles to the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee where his station wagon was found abandoned.

Brad Bishop successfully covered his tracks and was not seen for two years.

Then, in 1978, 5,000 miles away in Sorrento, Italy, a bizarre coincidence. Roy Harrell says he came face to face with Bishop in a bus station restroom:

"I was washing my hands and this bearded disheveled looking man came in. In my mind's eye I took the beard and his grubby clothes off of him and I saw the Brad Bishop I had seen coming out of the State Department. I followed him and watched him disappear down the cliffs going towards the boat landing where boats go to Capri."

Bishop is wanted by the FBI, Interpol, and the US Marshals. He has evaded capture for over 30 years. Authorities believe he is living in Europe.

Update:

On October 8th, 2014, the FBI announced a new theory as to William Bishop's whereabouts: he may have been killed by a hit and run driver in Alabama in 1981, and become a John Doe. The DNA results came back, and they are not a match. William Bishop's whereabouts are still unknown.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season three with Robert Stack in season five with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina.

 

Comments

lord rob main's picture

did they ever catch him

unsolved's picture

He is still on the run, and was added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list in April 2014.

Dylan's picture

He is in the news. They have exhumed a body in Alabama. It is a John Doe victim of a hit and run that happened in 1981. This person has similarities to bishop. I'd you google William Bradford Bishop it comes up.

unsolved's picture

Thank you for the update Dylan!

Edgar Hoover's picture

I think it's just as likely Mr. Bishop also died in 1976 and was killed by the same persons who murdered his family.

Carl's picture

That could be true, however, his discovery in Italy face to face by a former neighbor 2 years after the crime would disprove this.

Willie jackson's picture

He's still on the run

Dylan 's picture

No prob. Dental records are being checked and the authorities should know in a few weeks I assume.

rob's picture

please keep me posted on this case if solved.

Dylan's picture

Exhumed body from Alabama confirmed it is not William Bradford Bishop.

joanie's picture

who do I call? if I think I may know who he is?

unsolved's picture

Joanie, please call your local FBI office (http://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field) or call (410) 265-8080

Anonymous's picture

I hope Joanie contacted the FBI. This case needs to be solved.

Jbody's picture

I hope Joanie called. This case NEEDS to be solved.

chris's picture

I seen this guy a few weeks ago I. Saint Louis Missouri 4 times in a row he been on a run that all I know he could still be in Missouri

unsolved's picture

Chris - we have passed your tip onto the FBI.

John123's picture

I was talking with a guy in st.johns, NL Canada. And I'm sure it was him. I contacted authorities and they told me that what i see on t.v is not real. But everything stands out. ALL his features and conversations was adding up to what i was listening to on americas most wanted. He said he was living in Florida and traveled to Newfoundland canada in the summer cause it was too hot for him. In conversations he was telling me of different languages he spoke and of different countries he have been. He was really up on the american political scene, and didn't appear to be pleased. Whenever he heard sirens he tended to become very nervous and leave the area he was.when he finished his cigarette he was smoking he would never leave his cigarette butt in the ash tray, would always take them and put his in his pocket.All of these activities were found to be strange and very suspicious and later in the week as i was lying in bed in my hotel room it came on television about this and that's when it struck me that the man in the hotel matched Brad Bishop.

Anonymous's picture

contact the FBI.

Anonymous's picture

Sick man. I hope they catch him..

Chris's picture

Do you think that he possibly killed that John doe? Does he look like mr. Bishop? Is it possible he is using the identity of this John Doe? I thought that in crime situations that your psychiatrist has to speak and release information. Or maybe this was before hippa. Crazy. And if mr. Bishop was getting medications from his doctor. Is it possible he contacted this doctor or in area where thought to have been seen check hospitals and die to hippa you don't have to give your social security on forms. He has got to be under an alias maybe he took information of someone he worked with and is using their id etc.
I mean this was before the smart phone and cell phones. I hope you catch this Manson twin. Sick. Sick. Sick... You need to put up a digital enhasment of bald. Weight gain and with beard etc. different pictures so people have that to reference. I hope you catch him along with all the others. Keep up the good work law enforcement and federal agencies.
It's obvious you truly have your hands full with criminals.

Anonymous's picture

I have notified the fbi and this guy has been my renter for two years in his Rv, but did recently go on a trip where he may have been seen. I'm concerned because now I've told my husband as of tonight and he befriended the old man do begin with, and thinks I'm being a busybody who has lost her mind and is going to tell him so he will run and the fbi is dragging their feet. It's him I have a picture for crying out loud. He just made a threat as he feels he should leave all of a sudden (he must sense it or there are leaks from the inside) and he's trying to bail. Take me seriously or you may lose him again and worse put my family in danger after I stuck my neck out. Please!?!?!?

No exuses!'s picture

We can find Bin Laden, and James Bulger and just about anyone we want and we still haven't found this guy?! Come on already - Let's find justice for the slain family. What is the hold up on this case?!!

Kristy's picture

Is it possible tht the man could be dead hes been missing for all these years and never been found

KC's picture

Im confused. I thought all the bodies were buried in mass grave, but the FBI stated the wife was found beside a book she was probably reading and killed first. How would they know where she was found in the house, if she was found buried with the others.

Anonymous 's picture

did they get the facts right???

Pamela Pugh's picture

I have seen this story 3 times on Lifetime when the stories were re-aired from the 80's. Bradley Bishop is so sick and one of the worst murder cases I have ever heard about in many years. I hope they catch him soon or hope someone makes him pay for what he did to his family who were innocent people. Karma comes back to you Bradley and hope you will get it some day. I hate to say that but he deserves it. This man is horribly sick and deserves the death penalty and hope he gets it for sure for what he did. Please catch this sicko because it is hard to sleep knowing this piece of garbage is out there loose. Love the show a whole lot.

Winston's picture

Bishop is very much alive. I ran into face to face in Annapolis Maryland April 2014 ten days after he was put on FBI list. He's been hiding in the last place FBI would look for him. I reported right away but took FBI 3 weeks to get back to me. I think it was too quick for them bc agent started laughing at my account. I can pass a polygraph and have a high level government background so it was pretty insulting. Anyway Bishop looked incredibly physically fit like he lives on a treadmill and lifts weights, neat as a pin ,very well dressed like he just came out of a country club. His face is spot on to clay bust except his skin is very white like he gets zero sun and he does have a bushy goatee. He is balding but hair very white and It was broad daylight so there was no visual problems seeing him and not a lot of people were around. He was with a younger brunette woman who reacted in sync with Bishop when they realized I recognized him. We went from 300 feet to zero face to face on a dock. Bishop gave me a lip snarl then made a couple scary faces at me like he wanted to kill me but couldn't since we were out in the open. We passed each other without either of us going at it fortunately. He is so alive and well and even after that day I think he may still be in Maryland somewhere.

hmmmm's picture

How many posts on here are in your own heads?

Thefrog's picture

I say look at this person as if they know where he is or helping hide him.

Kristina's picture

Hmmm I think you need to keep an open mind. It's attitudes like yours that have allowed Bishop to remain free all this time and he counts on them. I find Winston's account very believable and possible because of his details. Bishop is still out there alive and could be anywhere on the planet. Even right under the FBI nose which is always the best place to hide. I'm sure a lot of people will be eating crow once he is captured.

Eric W Bohannon's picture

I Get some ware there is a light dusting of snow, in a retirement type, place, about 3rd level up, as far as quality, for boarding, and as one spanish speaking

Anonymous's picture

Has anyone else noticed that he resembles Quentin Tarantino ?

Smoss's picture

Yes this is ture

abie's picture

how do you its true

Petaa motex's picture

Were there credit cards in the seventies? I thought it was a nineties invention. I bet this guy is dead. This murder was committed quite a long time ago.

Black Bieber 's picture

Yes, Credit Cards were out (for 26 years) by the time William Bishop "disappeared" in 1976, as the Credit Card first came out around 1950.

Black Bieber's picture

I hope authorities, including the FBI, Interpol & other police agencies around the world can catch Mr. Bishop, as he is (at now 80 years old) apparently still alive & on the run. Hopefully, justice will be served for his wife, mother & children by this murder finally being solved. He's probably back in the United States, but could be anywhere in the world as he was fluent in several languages, according to this program.

savage's picture

I have seen this guy

unsolved's picture

Please send us more information at unsolved@unsolved.com, through our tip form (http://unsolved.com/content/tips) or through our app. Thank you.

Carolle Wieler's picture

I am sure a lot of people are still looking for him due to the large bounty on his head but be aware he may be dead. I find it amazing he can literally disappear from soght for so long so where ever he is if alive will be in full view as though nothing to hide and quite cocky in himself, almost over confident. He must feel big having evaded the mighty FBI et all for so
Long so I truly believe he has been mixing normally with people as this would not attract attention. He could be your next door neighbour so keep em peeled folks!

ralph's picture

I met a man that reminded me of him, a few years ago, but he died unexpectedlly around 2008. He was always talking about , how the mexican people are going to take over America by the year 2030, that they are really super intelligent, that they" love the martians and stuff like that." Then he would stare off into space like if he was waiting for a spaceship. He would say that all the time, like if he was really, dissapointed in himself. Sometimes he would go outside in the winter when he was really sick, and I started to believe he was really crazy. Sometimes he would say, I lived by Lou Costello house,when his son drowned,and how Lou went insane after that.

silvestre sepulveda's picture

i am prety sure i see him on daily bases.i will send you video or pictures when i see him agan.i am portuguese i hope my english is enought to understand?

unsolved's picture

Hi Silvestre - please send us more information at unsolved@unsolved.com, through our tip form (http://unsolved.com/content/tips) or through our app. Thank you.

Ed Zap's picture

I have a thread of over 56 post on this case on my Facebook page. Go to the FBI Facebook page and you will see my name, Ed Zap. Click on my name, if you can't see it you probably have to "Friend " me. https://www.facebook.com/williambradfordbishop/

Anonymous's picture

His story is also on the "America's Most Wanted" in the late 80s. I guess he is living incognito in Europe.

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