Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Face Of Evil - William Bradford Bishop Jr. - Fugitive From Justice

William Bradford Bishop Jr. (born August 1, 1936 in Pasadena, CA) is a former United States Foreign Service officer who has been a fugitive from justice since allegedly murdering five members of his family in 1976. On April 10, 2014, the FBI placed him on the list of its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.

Classification: Family Annihilator
Disappeared: March 2, 1976 (aged 39) from Jacksonville, NC
Current Location: Missing for 40+ years
Aliases: Bradford Bishop, Brad Bishop, Bradford Bishop Jr.
Known for: Wanted for five murders (Spouse, Children, Mother)

A Little Bit About The Case

He received a BS in history from Yale, and an MA in international studies from Middlebury College. Alternatively, he has been reported to have a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Yale University and a master's degree in Italian from Middlebury College. He also holds a master's degree in African Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

After his graduation from Yale in 1959, he married Annette Wels. He then spent four years in Army counterintelligence. Bishop speaks five languages fluently: English, French, Serbo-Croat, Italian and Spanish.

After leaving the army, Bishop joined the U.S. State Department and served in the U.S. Foreign Service in many postings overseas. This included postings in the Italian cities of Verona, Milan, and Florence (where he did post-graduate work at the University of Florence). He also served as a foreign service officer in Africa, including posts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and in Gaborone, Botswana. His last posting, which began in 1974, was at State Department Headquarters in Washington as an
Assistant Chief in the Division of Special Activities and Commercial Treaties. He was living in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife Annette (age 37), three sons, William III (age 14), Brenton (age 10), Geoffrey (age 5), and his mother, Lobelia (age 68).

By early 1976, Bishop was anticipating a promotion at work. Bishop and his wife were both psychiatric patients. Bishop suffered from depression and insomnia and was taking the medication Serax. On the afternoon of March 1, he learned he would not receive the promotion he had sought.

After learning of this career disappointment, Bishop told his secretary he didn’t feel well and left work early. Shortly thereafter, police believe that he first drove from Foggy Bottom (the neighborhood where he worked at the U.S. State Department headquarters) to the bank where he withdrew several hundred dollars. He then drove to Montgomery Mall and bought a sledge hammer and a gas can at Sears. He then filled the gas can and family station wagon up at a gas station next to
the mall.[10] From there, he drove to Poch's hardware, which at the time, was located next to Safeway, at the intersection of River Road and Falls Road. This is where police believe he purchased a shovel and pitchfork. He returned to his home in Bethesda, Maryland, at around 7:30 to 8:00 pm (19:30 to 20:00), after the children were put to bed. The police investigation shows that his wife was probably killed first. His mother, who was returning home from walking the family's Golden Retriever, was killed next.

Finally, his three sons (aged 5, 10, and 14) were killed while they slept in their beds in an upstairs bedroom.

With the bodies loaded into the family station wagon, Bishop allegedly drove 275 miles (443 km), about a six-hour drive, to a densely wooded swamp off North Carolina Highway 94, about 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Columbia, North Carolina. There, on March 2, he dug a shallow hole where he piled the bodies, doused them with gasoline, and set them ablaze. Later the same day, a North Carolina state forest ranger was dispatched by a spotter in a fire tower to an area where smoke was rising from the trees; the fire spread over three acres. The ranger discovered the burned bodies along with a gas can, a pitchfork, and a shovel with a label of "OCH HDW", which was tracked to Poch's Hardware a week later.

It was later confirmed that Bishop visited a sporting goods store in Jacksonville, North Carolina, that same day and used his credit card to purchase tennis shoes. According to witnesses, he had the family dog, a golden retriever named Leo, with him on a leash and was possibly, but not certainly, accompanied by a woman described as "dark skinned".

According to police reports, a week later, on March 10, a neighbor of the Bishops in the Carderock
Springs neighborhood in Bethesda, grew concerned about the family's absence, claiming she hadn't seen them for about a week. The neighbor contacted local police, who dispatched a detective to the nearby neighborhood. After meeting the neighbor, who had a key to the Bishop home, the detective decided to enter the home to see if anything was wrong. As he approached the front door, he found droplets of blood on the front porch and entered the house to discover spattered blood on the floor and walls. The children's room was covered from ceiling to floor and wall to wall with blood, as well. The detective stated that in his 12 years as a police officer, it was the worst crime scene he had ever observed. In addition, it was stated that one of the most disturbing pieces of evidence were marks on the ceiling of a bedroom where two boys were sleeping in bunk beds of the hammer swinging and hitting the ceiling. Shortly afterward, dental records were used to confirm that the bodies found in North Carolina were of Bishop's wife, Annette, his mother, and three sons.

On March 18, the Bishop family car, a 1974 Chevy station wagon, was found abandoned at an isolated campground in Elkmont, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a few miles from the Appalachian Trail and about 400 miles (640 km) from the Columbia-area pyre. The car contained dog biscuits, a bloody blanket, a shotgun, an ax and a shaving kit with Serax; the spare-tire well in the trunk was full of blood. According to a witness, the car had been there since March 5–7. Police theorized that Bishop could have joined the flow of hikers on the Appalachian Trail. They attempted to follow his scent with bloodhounds, without success.

On March 19, 1976, a grand jury indicted Bishop on five counts of first-degree murder and other charges. Evidence included his disappearance, the sighting afterward in the vicinity of the bodies, and bloody stains inside the family home that matched both his fingerprints and the blood of his family members.

Bishop had approximately one week of advance time before the authorities began looking for him
and could have travelled on his U.S. diplomatic passport. Because of the methods of air travel and immigration in 1976 throughout much of the world, he could easily have avoided leaving a paper trail of any kind.

Since 1976 Bishop has been allegedly sighted numerous times in Belgium, England, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The three most credible sightings noted by the United States Marshals Service are as follows:

In July 1978, a Swedish woman who said she had collaborated with Bishop while on a business trip in Ethiopia, reported she had spotted him twice in a public park in Stockholm, Sweden during a span of one week. She stated she was "absolutely certain" and made it clear to herself that the man was Bishop.

In January 1979, Bishop was reportedly seen by a former U.S. State Department colleague in a restroom in Sorrento, Italy. The colleague greeted the bearded man eye-to-eye, whom he personally believed to be Bishop; and asked the man impulsively "Hey. You're Brad Bishop, aren't you?" The man panicked suddenly and responded with an "Oh no," in a distinctly American accent. He then ran swiftly out of the restroom and fled onto the Sorrento alleyways.

On September 19, 1994, on a Basel, Switzerland, train platform, a neighbor on vacation in Europe who knew Bishop and his family in Bethesda reported that she had seen Bishop from a few feet away. The neighbor described Bishop as "well-groomed" and in a car.

As of 2010, authorities believe he is alive, living in Switzerland, Italy or some other location in Europe. He may still be in the U.S. in California and may have worked as a teacher or been involved in criminal activities. Although Bishop is legally American by nationality, it is widely believed that he may be living his life footloose in Europe as a place of refuge due to many more leads within this continent, compared with the lack of leads elsewhere.

Adding to the hypothesis that Bishop may be living outside the U.S. is the fact that Bishop was
known to manage and create IDs and passports while working for the U.S. government. It is possible that Bishop fled the United States the week of the murders and created a new identity in a foreign nation. He may have used faked birth certificates and faked passports that he created before or during the week of the murders. If Bishop was shrewd enough, he may have illegally manipulated immigration and citizenship into a foreign nation. Bishop spoke five languages fluently and could have assimilated into the countries of Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia and possibly Romania without many obstacles or hurdles.

According to the FBI, Bishop may have had his father's Smith & Wesson M&P .38 revolver and his Yale class ring with him when he vanished in 1976 and could still be in possession of them today. He is also believed to have taken his diplomatic passport with him to leave the US easily. (The Bishop family diplomatic passports were all recovered from their home but Bradford's was missing.)

On October 9, 2014, the body of an unidentified man who resembled Bishop and was killed in a hit-and-run walking along an Alabama highway in 1981 was exhumed by the FBI in Scottsboro to have the DNA, teeth and fingerprints analyzed. The DNA test indicated the deceased was not Bishop.

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