Talk about a cold case file. It was almost 40 years ago when William Bradford Bishop, Jr. allegedly committed one of the most atrocious crimes imaginable. Now, as part of an effort to reopen closed cases, authorities have decided to take another shot at finding Bishop. Over the years, there have been Bishop sightings reported to the FBI with no luck. However, that is not necessarily a huge surprise as Bishop is fluent in five languages and may have the ability to forge passports. Although he hasn’t officially been seen since his disappearance in 1976, officials believe his roots out west may have brought him to “The Golden State” after all this time. Now, after eluding officials for decades, a suspected murderer who is believed to have killed his family may possibly be living in Southern California.
William Bradford Bishop, Jr. was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted list last week, after federal agents decided to reopen his case. After years of unconfirmed sightings and false reports of his death, he is now believed to be alive and potentially hiding in plain sight. He had been assumed dead at least twice in France and in Hong Kong. However, fingerprints of the deceased proved the theories to be faulty. It is not without reason, though, that Bishop may have been able to hide in multiple locations around the world. Prior to his alleged crimes, Bishop was working for the State Department in Maryland, where he lived with his wife and kids. Before that he traveled the world while working for the CIA. One of his tasks as a government employee was making passports.
One day, in March 1976, suspected murderer Bishop left work early after claiming to feel ill. He apparently drove home, stopping along the way to purchase a few items: a mallet and gas can. He also was reported to have filled up the family station wagon with gas at a Texaco, and withdrew a large sum of money from his bank. That evening, the would-be murderer, who is now suspected of living in Southern California, returned home and is believed to have killed practically his entire family. As his wife and three sons slept in their beds, it appeared that he bashed their heads in with the mallet he had purchased earlier that day. His mother met with the same fate after she returned home from walking the family dog.
Shortly after, it is believed that Bishop loaded the bodies into the back of the family station wagon and headed south to North Carolina. He allegedly dug a shallow grave where he placed the remains and then lit the corpses on fire. Bishop then took off, never to be seen or heard from again by the authorities. He left behind a shovel, the gas can and a blazing fire which was discovered by a park ranger. Later, the station wagon was also found, in Tennessee, with bloody clothes and an axe among the inventory.
Now FBI agents believe that Bishop, a seemingly cold-blooded murderer who is suspected to have killed his family, may be possibly residing somewhere in Southern California, due to his roots in Pasadena and an affinity for the Sierra Mountains. After almost 40 years, could this be the end of the line for Bishop, who may have been living his life “on the lam” this whole time? Sketch artists have rendered their versions of what Bishop may look like after all this time (see above). In 1976, the brown eyed, brown haired Bishop was described as six foot and one inch tall, weighing roughly 180 pounds. There is a $100,000 reward for any tips leading to his arrest and conviction.
By Josh Taub
The Washington Post