Guest author William Bayless: William spent 9 years on active duty Navy as an analyst with 2 years aboard the USS John F. Kennedy and duty stations in Maryland and the United Kingdom. He has an MBA as well as a two year degree in Information Systems and a solid foundation of basic cyber security principles and concepts.
One case from the FBI’s most wanted list is especially problematic for several reasons. First, this fugitive is wanted for the brutal murders of his entire family, but these crimes were committed roughly 40 years ago — Bishop could be anywhere. He speaks a variety of languages and has experience traveling and living abroad in Europe and Africa, not to mention having lived on both the East and West Coasts of the United States. He is intelligent with degrees from both UCLA and Yale as well as having studied at other universities.
William Bradford Bishop is wanted for the 1976 murders of his 3 sons, his wife and his mother in the Spring of 1976 in Montgomery County, MD. What makes this case interesting and worth noting here on SOFREP is that Bishop is a former Army Intelligence Analyst/Linguist turned State Department employee who speaks a variety of languages to include French, Italian, Serbo-Croatian and Spanish. He had postings in Italy while serving in the Army, as well as postings as a state department employee in Italy, Ethiopia, Botswana and Maryland.
On top of the variety of languages that he speaks, he is a graduate of Yale and has several degrees to include a BS in history, BA in American studies, Masters in Italian, and graduate work from the University of Florence as well as a graduate degree in African Studies from UCLA.
The crime: On the night of March 1, 1976, after learning that he would not be promoted at work, he left early, bought gas and a sledgehammer and came home around 7:30 to 8 p.m. where he first killed his wife, then mother, and finally his three sons as they lay sleeping upstairs. He took all of the bodies and loaded them in his car; he drove to a secluded area in North Carolina where he dumped the bodies in a shallow grave, lit them on fire and left. He was next spotted at a sporting goods store in Jacksonville, NC and may have been accompanied by a female, but also was spotted with the family dog.
He then headed west towards Tennessee, but it is unclear as to where he was headed. The trail goes cold after his car was found later parked in Elkmont, TN near the Great Smokey Mountains. Bishop was known to have been an avid outdoorsman and at first there was much speculation that he left for the mountains to avoid capture or simply to die, but some clues suggest that he never intended to commit suicide or die in the wilderness of the Great Smokey Mountains.
He is thought to have carried his passport with him and could have flown to Europe or somehow been given some type of help to make it back to his home state of California. It is speculation as to where he was headed or where he went as his abandoned car is the last known location of Brad Bishop. There have been reported sightings over the years by former colleagues of Bishop, many of which were in Europe and by people who knew him, but beyond their eyewitness testimonies, there is no way to confirm that these were actually sightings of Bishop.
According to the FBI, he is also an avid outdoorsman and earned his pilot’s license while stationed in Africa. He was known to like motorcycles, running, tennis, fishing and hunting, and he should still be considered armed and dangerous. He is known to have carried his father’s .38 special with serial number C981967 and has a 6 inch vertical scar on his lower back.
Images courtesy of the FBI.
Edit: 1:55 a.m. June 10, 2018 — changed South Carolina to North Carolina.
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