William Bradford Bishop Added to FBI Top Ten List
A man wanted for killing his Maryland family in 1976 is named to the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
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New Top Ten Fugitive
‘Family Annihilator’ William Bradford Bishop, Jr. Wanted for 1976 Murders
William Bradford Bishop, Jr., wanted for the brutal murders of his wife, mother, and three sons in Maryland nearly four decades ago, has been named to the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading directly to the arrest of Bishop, a highly intelligent former U.S. Department of State employee who investigators believe may be hiding in plain sight.
Hiding in Plain Sight?
On March 1, 1976, Bishop used a hammer to bludgeon his family, including his three boys, ages 5, 10, and 14. Investigators believe he then drove to North Carolina with the bodies in the family station wagon, buried them in a shallow grave and set them on fire. The last confirmed sighting of Bishop was one day after the murders at a sporting goods store in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where he bought a pair of sneakers.
“Nothing has changed since March 2, 1976 when Bishop was last seen except the passage of time,” said Steve Vogt, special agent in charge of our Baltimore Division. Vogt has teamed with local Maryland law enforcement officials to apprehend Bishop, a man described by investigators as a “family annihilator.”
“There is no indication that Bishop is dead,” Vogt said, explaining that the area where the bodies were discovered was searched extensively, and hundreds of individuals were interviewed at the park where the abandoned station wagon was later discovered, and there was no trace of Bishop.
The FBI, along with the Montgomery County Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the Department of State formed a task force last year to take another look at the Bishop case and to engage the public in locating him. As part of that effort, a forensic artist created a three-dimensional, age-enhanced bust of what the fugitive may look like now, at the age of 77.
An Unforgettable Crime
Naming Bishop to the Top Ten list is expected to bring national and international attention to the case in a way that was impossible decades ago. “When Bishop took off in 1976, there was no social media, no 24-hour news cycle,” Vogt said. “There was no sustained way to get his face out there like there is today. And the only way to catch this guy is through the public.”
“If Bishop is alive—and there is every chance that he could be,” said Tom Manger, chief of the Montgomery County Police Department and a member of the task force, “we are hopeful someone will call with the tip we need to catch him.” Manger added, “When you have a crime of this magnitude, no matter how long ago it occurred, the police department and the community never stop trying to bring the person responsible to justice.”
“No lead or tip is insignificant,” Vogt explained. “If Bishop is living with a new identity, he’s got to be somebody’s next-door neighbor.” Vogt, a Maryland native who remembers when the murders happened 38 years ago, echoed Manger’s sentiments about never giving up trying to locate the fugitive. “Don’t forget that five people were murdered,” he said. “Bishop needs to be held accountable for that.”
We need your help: If you have any information concerning William Bradford Bishop, Jr., contact your local FBI office, the nearest law enforcement agency, or the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You can also submit a tip online.