Voices, past, present, and future continues its deep dive into some of the most horrifying criminals at large who just so happen to have made it to the FBI’s most wanted list. JOIN ME!
Let’s take a look at William Bradford Bishop Jr., a former United States Foreign Service officer who is a fugitive from justice since he ALLEGEDLY killed his wife, mother, and his three sons in 1976. On April 10, 2014, he was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. At the age of 81, on June 27, 2018 he would be removed from this list, making room for another dangerous fugitive, although, Bishop is still being activiely pursued by the FBI.
If we were to look into the Psychology of Bishop, at first glance we would find no triggers for his behavior that other middle class families also endure. The Washington Post, in 1977, published an article that stated, ” There was no evidence of infidelity, or financial or job related problems.” Bishop had been passed over for a promotion, but there was no history of work-related issues. This just happened to be the first glitch in the storybook tale. His career had caused him some marital tension. Being unhappy at his desk job, and interested in another foreign posting, caused his wife, Annette to be reluctant, as she was just starting her study of Art at the University of Maryland. This was despite Bishop’s desire for her to remain a stay-at-home mom.
Sources had agreed that the Bishop’s had experienced some financial difficulties, but there had been some disagreement as to the severity of it. The Post reported in 1986, that the issues were “mild” and “familiar to most upwardly mobile families.” An FBI Criminal Profiler described them as “Nothing terribly unusual for people in their thirties living in that kind of neighborhood.” Bethesda Magazine, 2013, reported that the IRS had been auditing the family’s taxes due to some financial troubles, though the existence of the audit has not been confirmed by the IRS or the FBI.
The profile that the FBI put together of Bishop was that: he is an avid outdoorsman, who enjoys camping and hiking, the report also states that he has a pilot’s license from when he was stationed in Africa. He enjoys riding motorcycles and working out on weekly basis. (Sounds like your average dating profile until you look into his psyche)
At the time leading to the murders, he was afflicted with both depression and insomnia, taking Serax for these conditions. (I’m not familiar with the medication, but I think we all suffer from these conditions from time to time). He is fond of dogs, and enjoys a Scotch Whiskey from time to time, along with spicy fooods and peanuts. (I guess they have to go into depth when putting together a profile to catch their criminal) The profile also listed that he has a vertical scar on his lower back from surgery, a cleft chin, and a facial mole on his left cheek. (The FBI left no small detail undiscovered)
At the time he vanished, the FBI believed he had his father’s Smith & Wesson M&P .38 Special Revolver, (it also lists the serial number C981967), along with his Yale class ring. He may have taken his diplomatic passport with him, his being the only one missing at the time the murders were discovered. Bishop had approximately one week of advance time before the authorities began too look for him. They suggested he could have traveled on this diplomatic passport. A FBI Special Agent, Steve Vogt, stated in 2014 that neither Bishop’s wallet nor passport have ever been found. They also speculated Bishop may have had intelligence training in the 1960’s, which could have helped him evade detection in 1976. (The amount of training military, special forces, intelligence agencies, etc. receive, scares me to the level that they can evade and get away with crimes and acts of violence against humanity)
There have been numerous sightings of Bishop since 1976. Some have been in various European countries, including Italy, Belgium, England, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. They have three most credible sightings that were noted by the United States Marshals Service:
- A Swedish woman, in 1978, stated that she had collaborated with Bishop while on a business trip in Ethiopia. She reported she had spotted him twice in a public park in Stockholm during a span of one week. She also stated, she was “absolutely certain” the man was Bishop. She said she did not contact the police, because at the time she had not realized yet, that he was wanted for murder in the U.S.
- Sometimes our features are so distinct that they cannot be denied, which in January of 1979 is what happened. A former State Departmen colleague reportedly saw him in a restroom in Sorrento, Italy. The colleague stated that when he greeted Bishop, a bearded man, eye-to-eye, asking: “Hey, you’re Brad Bishop, aren’t you?” the man responded in a distinct American accent, “Oh no”, and then fled.
- Again on September 19,1994, a neighbor who had known Bishop and his family in Bethesda, while she was on a platform on a Basil train on vacation, had spotted him from only a few feet away. She described him as “well groomed” and also stated that he was getting into a car.
In 2010, the authorities had believed that Bishop was living in Switzerland, Italy or elswhwer in Europe, or possibly even California. They believed he may have even worked as a teacher or became involved in criminal activities.. The autorities also revealed that before the murders Bishop had been corresponding with a federal prison inmate, Albert Kenneth Bankson, who was in the United Stated Penitentiary, in Marion, Illinois. Why or How is still unknown. Bankston died in 1983, ten years before law enforcement discovered his connection to Bishop.
In 2014, the authorities stated that Bishop was probably living in plain sight in the U.S. and was avoiding discovery by avoidin arrest. Being arrested would enable the law enforcement to run his fingerprints and catch him.
In March 2021, a woman who had been adopted came forward claiming that she found out through a DNA testing service, Bishop was her biological father. The FBI confirmed she was indeed his biological daughter.
Why are these cases so important and why do I bring them to you? It’s because these murderers, fugitives, criminals, with extensive backgrounds and training, walk among us. They look and act just like anyone we see in the store, could even be our neighbors. While we go about our days, the deaths of Bishop’s family still goes without justice for their lives taken.
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