With No Clear Motive Brad Bishop Murdered His Family And Disappeared

Brad Bishop, a foreign service agent working for the State Department, is from Bethesda, Maryland. He attended Yale University and graduated in 1959; he was from Pasadena, California. He also worked as a counterintelligence agent for the American Army. He spoke five languages well, and seemed like the perfect State Department staffer. Bishop did not receive the promotion he believed he had worked so hard for, however, because the State Department was selective with its awards in 1976.

He was angry about his lack of promotion despite assurances from colleagues that the majority of them likewise didn’t succeed in getting promoted.
He also reportedly complained of ongoing arguments with his mother, Lobelia, who was 68 years old, and wife Annette, who was 37. Both were said to have criticized him for being “washed up” and failing to advance in his position. It is possible that the failed promotion, coupled with family stress, was what ultimately led to the fatal events because he was also renowned for wanting to “put his enemies in their place.”

Bishop informed his secretary that he was sick and would be seeing a doctor on March 1st, 1976. His final day of employment with the State Department was that day as well. He made three stops on his way home rather than going to the health clinic. In the first, he bought and filled a gas can; in the second, he went to the White Flint Mall and bought a ball-peen hammer and a shovel; and in the third, he went to a bank and withdrew several hundred dollars in cash.

pictured above is Bishop’s family before he murdered them

Investigators think he got home at 7:30 or 8 o’clock. He murdered Lobelia, Annette, and his three kids, William III, age 14, Brenton, age 10, and Geoffrey, age 5, that night by beating them all to death. Since Annette was discovered next to a book she was reading, it is thought that she was slain first. Lobelia was probably killed next, then the boys. Each victim was helpless to defend themselves. After the killings, Bishop drove all night to Columbia, North Carolina, where he dug a small trench, stacked the bodies inside, doused them in gasoline, and lit them on fire.

On March 2, a forest warden in North Carolina spotted the smoke and found the horrifying scene. He then informed the local police of his discoveries. There weren’t many early hints in the frightening case. Two pieces of clothes belonging to the victims had labels from upscale Bethesda department stores. It was discovered that the shovel originated from the Bethesda hardware store. The Bethesda police, however, did not have any missing persons reports at the time that matched the victims.

A neighbor of the Bishops called the police on March 8—six days later—after becoming suspicious about their absence. When Lt. Joe Sargent got there, he spoke with the neighbor. He saw blood splatters on the porch when he got to the front door. More drips were on the floor leading to the foyer when he entered the house. The blood trail continued upstairs, into a bedroom. The bed, ceiling, and floor of the bedroom were all covered in blood. Other areas of the house were discovered to have more blood.

The two cases were swiftly linked by investigators. The identity of the remains in North Carolina was verified by dental records. Bishop purchased a pair of tennis shoes close to Columbia after disposing of the bodies there. Then he vanished after leaving the automobile at a campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Almost three weeks after the murders, a ranger found it on March 18. The bloodied ball peen hammer and the receipt from the hardware store for its purchase were discovered when police searched it. Bishop is then thought to have left the country.

Bishop was able to travel far more easily than most citizens since he still had his State Department passport, which customs officials often view favorably. Even though he travels on a diplomatic passport from the United States, sightings of him have been recorded throughout Europe, including Belgium, England, Finland, The Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. He hasn’t been officially seen since.

He was on FBI list of the most wanted people

He was identified as being in Europe by a coworker at the State Department named Roy Harrell. In a conversation with Unsolved Mysteries, Harrell remembered taking a trip to Italy in 1978 and having an extremely odd accidental encounter. He observed a bearded, scruffy man wearing a soft cotton sports coat as he was in a men’s restroom in the city of Sorrento. When he got a closer look, he recognized Bishop and approached him, asking him to accompany him from Sorrento to Rome so they could turn themselves in to the Italian authorities. He panicked at this unlikely meeting and fled when Harrell offered turning himself in to the police.
Bishop was charged with five counts of first-degree murder indictment in absentia. He was last seen in the United States traveling with the family dog and a woman with black skin. He has a medium physique, brown eyes, brown hair, and a height of 6’1″.

Investigators discovered an old letter in the fall of 1992 that suggested Bishop had attempted to hire someone to murder his family before he actually committed the atrocities. The letter was from Albert Kenneth Bankston, a bank robber who had written to Bishop before being imprisoned. What further ties the two men may have had are unknown, though. Bishop was last observed by a neighbor on September 19, 1994 in Basel, Switzerland.

The exhumed body resembled Bishop but the DNA showed otherwise

Bishop was included in the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List on April 10, 2014. Authorities learned in October 2014 that Bishop might have been the unnamed guy killed in a hit-and-run accident in Alabama in 1981. His body was exhumed by the authorities, and DNA analysis was done. Although Bishop’s face resembles his quite a little, it was determined that he was not Bishop.

Regrettably, Roy died in 2017 without ever witnessing Bishop’s capture. Although he is no longer on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, his status remains “wanted,” and the agency is still looking for any signs that he has passed away or can be apprehended.
A sixty-three-year-old lady named Kathy Gillcrist learned Bishop was her biological father through a DNA test in February 2021. He is thought to have fathered her while attending Yale University.


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