BY DARK SLEUTH
March 1, 2016 marked a sad anniversary. A man wanted for murdering his family has been on the run for 40 years.
Bradford Bishop was a highly intelligent, Yale-educated, international diplomat who worked for the U.S. State Department. He was fluent in French, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish and Italian. In 1976, he and his family were living in the Carderock Springs neighborhood of Bethesda, Maryland. At the time, Bishop worked at the Foggy Bottom office of the State Department. The family had been living in the U.S. for a few years. Prior to that, Bishop had postings in Italy, Botswana and Ethiopia. Before working for the State Department's Foreign Service, Bishop had spent 4 years working in U.S. military intelligence in the former Yugoslavia.
On March 1, 1976, Bishop learned that he had been passed over for a promotion. According to a Bethesda Magazine article from 2013, Bishop "became upset, saying a position that should have been his had gone to [a] co-worker." Bishop informed his supervisor that he felt ill and left work.
According to the same article, he withdrew $400 from the American Security Bank, purchased 13 gallons of gas at a service station at the Montgomery Mall. A few hours later he also bought a sledgehammer and a gas can at the Sears located in the mall.
Then Bishop did the unthinkable. He returned home and bludgeoned his entire family: his mother, Lobelia Bishop, his wife, Annette Bishop, and their three sons, William, Brenton and Geoffrey. The boys were aged 14, 10 and 5 respectively.
He packed the bodies into the family station wagon and drove five hours south to Albermale Sound in North Carolina with the family dog in tow. In a rural, wooded area there, he placed them in a shallow grave and set it on fire. The smoke was seen by a ranger, but not before Bishop had a chance to flee. The investigation began immediately.
The last confirmed sighting of Bishop was at a store near Jacksonville, North Carolina, about 2 1/2 hours south from where he dumped his family. He used his credit card to buy a pair of tennis shoes.
Three weeks later, authorities found the family's abandoned station wagon near Gatlinburg, Tennessee at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Since he disappeared in 1976, there have been numerous possible sightings of Bishop in Europe. In July of 1978, Bishop was reportedly seen twice on a Stockholm street by a former colleague who said Bishop was following her and wore a beard.
Another reported sighting was in 1979, also by another colleague, who claimed to have seen Bishop in Sorrento, Italy in a public urinal. In that sighting, Bishop was also reportedly wearing a beard.
Another credible sighting occurred in 1994. Two of Bishop's former neighbors, a couple from Bethesda, were traveling in Basel, Switzerland. They were at a train station when they saw someone looking at them. They believed it to be Bishop. He was sitting on another train in an adjoining track. Before they could do anything, Bishop's train pulled away.
Bradford Bishop: Age Progressed Bust
In April 2014, the FBI announced that Bishop had made it to the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. Please visit the photo gallery on the FBI's site with many age-progression photos:
According to the FBI, Bishop is an avid outdoorsman. He is a licensed amateur pilot. Bishop enjoyed working out. He liked many outdoor activities, such as skiing, canoeing, fishing and hiking. Bishop reportedly also drank scotch and wine, and he liked peanuts and spicy food. He had received treatment for depression while living in the U.S. He also was a chronic insomniac. Bishop's personality is described as intense, self-absorbed and prone to outbursts. He liked an orderly and neat environment.
In 1976, Bishop's height was 6'1" and he weighed about 180 pounds.
The FBI has set up a Facebook page to bring awareness to the case:
Please also watch and share this official FBI video on Youtube with details and more photos of Bishop:
If you have any information on Bradford Bishop, the FBI asks you to contact 1-800-CALL-FBI.
If you live internationally, the FBI asks that you contact the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
There is a $100,000 reward for his capture.
Sources of Information:
CNN's The Hunt with John Walsh, "Bradford Bishop, Family Annihilator"
1. "The Man Who Got Away" article from May/June 2013
2. "Hunt for Bradford Bishop Led Authorities to Arrest of Different Fugitive" April 2015
FBI's Page on Bradford Bishop:
FBI's Bradford Bishop Photo Gallery:
FBI's Bradford Bishop Official Facebook Page: