The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has officially added a man sought after for being the Family Annihilator to the top 10 most wanted list early Thursday. The action comes nearly 40 years after the crime was committed and the FBI has announced that they are offering a reward of up to $100,000 for any information that would lead to his arrest.
The crime was committed by William Bradford Bishop Jr., who bludgeoned his entire family with a hammer including his mother, wife and their three sons ages 5, 10, and 14 at their Bethesda, Maryland home located near Washington on March 1st of the year 1976. Investigators call him the Family Annihilator.
Bishop is said to be highly intelligent. He received a Bachelors of Science in History from Yale and a Masters in International Studies from the University of California. Upon graduating from Yale, he served four years in the Army before working in the U.S. State Department and serving in he U.S. Foreign Service in postings overseas. Because of his experience, Bishop is reportedly able to speak five different languages fluently: English, French, Serbo-Croat, Italian and Spanish.
It has been revealed that the Family Annihilator sought now by the FBI had been suffering from depression. The day he committed the crimes against his family, Bishop was denied both the promotion he had been anxiously awaiting to hear from and the prescription for an addictive drug called Serax. After leaving work early and telling his secretary he did not feel well, he bought a gas can and hammer.
The following day, a North Carolina forest ranger found burned bodies and a shovel. On March 10, a neighbor of the Bishop family contacted police who dispatched a detective to the Bishop residence. The detective discovered blood all around the house, most prevalent in the room where the three boys had slept, covering the ceiling, floors and walls. Dental records confirmed the burned bodies discovered the week before belonged to the Bishops. A week later, the car belonging to the family was discovered abandoned at a campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Nothing was inside but a bloody blanket and a spare tire well filled with blood.
On March 19, Bishop was indicted by a grand jury of first degree murder on five counts and other charges. His disappearance, bloody stains that matched his fingerprints found inside the home and others added to the evidence against him.
Since committing the murders in 1976, there have been numerous alleged sightings of the Family Annihilator in different countries. They include England, the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland. There are theories that Bishop may have committed suicide or died.
A task force was formed in 2013 to review the Bishop case as part of a cold case initiative.
“The media in 1976 does not even compare to how it is now,” Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Division, Steve Vogt, said in a statement. “Back then, there was not any form of social media or 24-hour news stations. The only thing changed with this case is time. We are hoping that the media will pay attention to this case. People who use social media will be the ones to help solve this.”
The FBI is urging that if anyone has information relating to the sought after Family Annihilator, that they call the line 1-800-CALL-FBI. If you are located overseas, then they ask that you head to the nearest consulate or embassy.
By Jessica Cooley