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

Smiling photo of Willam Bradford Bishop

William Bradford Bishop


Gender: Male
Height: 6’1”
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown


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.
A digitally age progressed photo of William Bradford Bishop

An age progressed photo of Bishop

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.”

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 pouring gasoline onto covered bodies in a shallow grave in the woods

Police believe Bishop killed his family

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.’

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

Fire burning behind a station wagon in the woods

The bodies were burned in the woods

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.”

Bishop leaving his car in the middle of a Tennessee forest with his golden retreiver on a leash

He abandoned the car in Tennessee

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.”

Map of italy with points of interest on Rome and Sorrento

Is Bishop living in Italy?

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.


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. Various seasons available now on Hulu.




  1. James

    I don’t live far from where the murders took place. Brad Bishop is probably deceased at this point. He will be 88 this year. I beileve he lived out his life in Europe under different identities.


  2. Underwear

    Brad Bishop definitely got out of the country, but he probably “paper tripped” before he did that. The thing with the car being left in Tennessee says that wherever he went, he didn’t leave the country from there. That’s in the middle of the country, and any flight to a far away overseas destination would’ve been requiring a connection flight.

    The reason why I say he left the country is that he’d one day pass away, and like Robert Ivan Nichols (who also paper tripped into a new identity) he would eventually be found to not be the person whose identity he stole. Whereas if he passed away in a foreign nation, it’s likely that he would’ve not had the same issues as being known to be foreign born.

    The thing with Bishop that gets me is why not simply divorce? You’d think that he could’ve easily done that. There is much more to this story, as he also was said to have a correspondence with an incarcerated individual for years—just plain weird when you consider he worked as member of The State Department. If the motive was being passed over at work, then why kill the family? I think this was actually just the day he chose to do it because of the bad news, but in reality…this was probably something he was planning on doing anyway.


  3. JonTron&UMsFan

    *It wouldn’t*


  4. JK

    I Wonder if the Station wagon is available for a DNA swab….probably not. Apparently Bishop was spotted with an unidentified woman presumably when he still had the Station wagon . Perhaps genetic genealogy could track that unidentified woman down. It’s a long shot but hey why not.


  5. Stacia

    I totally don’t think hes dead, i think hes in Syracuse N.Y. and that he is my grandfather and he faked his sons deaths, he is very much alive. And


    • JonTron&UMsFan

      I do have a few questions Stacia …All the places he could be & you think it could be Syracuse?…I admit, I wouldn’t be the first place that would come to mind for a man that was believed to be in Canada or Europe… Plus You think he’s your grandfather, how?…& he faked his son’s death, again how?… I’m pretty sure he just didn’t find 3 random kids that were close to the age of his sons & just kidnapped them & then later killed them…But even if he did that…What do you think happened to his sons then?…did he take them w/ him on the run or something?
      (At first glance, there do seem to be a few holes in this story, but regardless, I have an open mind & I’d love to talk more about this to you…it doesn’t even have to be on the public part of the web)


  6. Butcher baker

    Truly the most heinous person on this site! I hope he is on fire right now.


  7. Jason

    I think he’s more than likely dead. He’d be in his 80s. Even if he’s miraculously found, what are they gonna do? He’s a SUSPECT. He wasn’t convicted of any crime. I’m sure most of the witnesses have passed away as well as evidence. Anythng is possible though, I guess.


    • Jackie

      “He was tried in absentia of the crimes and found guilty on five-counts of first degree murder and other charges.”–this is from the Unsolved Mysteries Fandom website.


  8. Bill Blaski

    I hope he rotted somewhere for the despicable crime he committed. It’s baffling to me how the FBI never found him. I’m sure he would be in his 80s by now.


  9. Andrew C

    I live in Singapore and also very familiar with this case when another series called ‘Manhunter’ hosted by John Walsh (you Americans should know him very well as he used to host ‘America’s Most Wanted’) featured him and the horrible crime that he committed; I was about 10 years old when the series was televised in my country. Reader’s Digest also brought up the case in around 1999 in their article ‘World’s Most Wanted’.

    My guess is that he is hiding somewhere in Serbia or Croatia, as I read he is familiar with Serbo-Croat languages. But there’s a possibility he might have been died in the various Balkans conflicts in the mid-1990s.

    But anyway, I will definitely keep an eye out and will inform this program or the nearest American consulate or embassy if I happen to know his whereabouts.


  10. Aaron Howard

    He moved to hollywood and changed his name to Quentin Tarantino.


  11. Nancy Renfrow

    I recently made a pic of someone who looks remarkably like Bishop. Would like to send it to FBI, but cannot figure out how to. Can you please advise me ?


  12. Anonymous

    I was probably too young when this actually happened!!!’ We’re talking 1976 , right ?!! I would’ve been 3 , I saw this on Unsolved Mysteries as a teenager . It scared the hell out of me , I live in Pennsylvania (which is fairly close – I think 2 hours away ) ! Years later I really thought I saw him outside of a gas station ( my husband thought I was crazy – he was trying to disguise his height – nothing like this usually happens in Dillsburg Pa – I really think it was him !!! I believe he’s very much alive !!!


  13. Bill Blaski

    All these comments and no one talks about Brad Bishops co-worker from the state dept. This co-worker worked with him daily, and said Brad got really upset that he didn’t get his work promotion. This co-worker was somewhere in Italy on vacation with his wife when he had to go to a public restroom. He was at the urinal and looked over and there was Brad Bishop. Per this article he headed towards the boat docks. I’d be shocked that he’s still alive, but I certainly don’t believe he’s in the USA


    • Dave

      Totally agree that the work college has something to do with it. The fact he claims he see Bishop in Italy makes me think he killed them all but disposed of Bishops body somewhere else and enjoyed the thrill of it so tried to get it back in the news.


      • Share

        Ummmmmm so even tho there’s ample proof and eyewitnesses seeing him BUY the mini sledgehammer that killed them….the gas can the shovel etc…..he was SEEN right by where he burnt the bodies…..soooo the co worker and him did all this? Hmmmmmm do tell how he forced William to do all this and not be seen? Yea I think you don’t know the case nor evidence Christ just don’t bother.


  14. Anonymous

    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.


  15. Anonymous

    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?!!


    • Rachel Gutridge

      There’s a very good reason that they still haven’t caught him , he’s just too smart and even in his old age he’s still in excellent health e enough to keep running. He’s a complete health nut , he may still need medicine for anxiety and depression though !! Although every “ smart “ person can make simple mistakes to make it that much easier to catch them . He’s the same age as my mother in law, so it’s plausible for him to still be alive!! He’ll slip up and eventually he’ll be caught


  16. Anonymous

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


  17. Ed Zap

    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/


  18. silvestre sepulveda

    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?


  19. ralph

    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.


  20. Carolle Wieler

    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!


  21. savage

    I have seen this guy


  22. Petaa motex

    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.


  23. Anonymous

    Has anyone else noticed that he resembles Quentin Tarantino ?


  24. Eric W Bohannon

    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


  25. Kristina

    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.


  26. hmmmm

    How many posts on here are in your own heads?


  27. Winston

    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.


  28. Pamela Pugh

    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.


  29. KC

    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

      did they get the facts right???


    • Anonymous

      I was confused by that as well but I decided they must mean they can tell she was killed there as her body would’ve remained the longest if she was killed first. Assuming they based this on forensics of blood. Prob they can tell where each person was killed.
      He prob got the hell out of dodge with his diplomatic passport long before they knew he was missing and murder suspect, so the account of him being seen in Italy by his work colleague does seem plausible.


  30. Kristy

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


  31. Anonymous

    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!?!?!?


  32. Chris

    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.


  33. Anonymous

    Sick man. I hope they catch him..


  34. John123

    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

      contact the FBI.


    • Rachel Gutridge

      If he’s still as healthy as he was when he was in his 40 ‘s ( when this happened ) he wouldn’t be a smoker, no matter how stressed out he might be. He’s probably still popping anti anxiety medicine


    • Rachel Gutridge

      Highly doubt he’d touch a cigarette, no matter how stressed out he might be . He’s a health nut , no way he would, although he’ll most likely be still be popping anti anxiety and depression meds


  35. chris

    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


  36. Jbody

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


  37. Anonymous

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


  38. joanie

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


  39. Dylan

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


  40. rob

    please keep me posted on this case if solved.


  41. Dylan

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


  42. Edgar Hoover

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


    • Willie jackson

      He’s still on the run


    • Rachel Gutridge

      There’s enough evidence that he was involved. They’ve proven that and that’s why they’ve got the warrant out and a huge bounty on his head !! I highly agree that he’s very much alive and keeping the FBI right under his nose . He’s arrogant enough to want it that way


  43. Dylan

    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.


  44. lord rob main

    did they ever catch him


Leave a Reply to Dylan Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.