BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA9) -- A man wanted in the 1976 murders of his family members in Montgomery County, Md. has been added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
FBI officials announced that William Bradford Bishop, Jr. was added on Thursday. Bishop, commonly known as Bradford Bishop, is wanted by the Montgomery County Police Department for the murder of five of his family members.
According to Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger at the press conference on Thursday, adding Bishop to the list is "not our last chance, but it is our most recent opportunity to make progress towards apprehending Bishop. This is a case with both national and international pieces. While it is possible that Bishop may still be in the United States, we know that he had the means and the experience to relocate himself to a foreign country. No matter where he is, however, news spreads fast and all we need is just one person to call us with the right tip as to Bishop's whereabouts."
According to Popkin and Montgomery County Police, on March 1, 1976, Bishop, a U.S. State Department official, left work early saying he didn't feel well. Then, according to law enforcement officials, Bishop went to Montgomery Mall and bought a gas can and small metal mallet at Sears. Then, he drove to the other side of the mall, filled up the family's maroon 1974 Chevrolet station wagon with gas at the Texaco as well as the gas can he had just purchased. He then went to the bank and withdrew almost all the money: $400.
Bishop then made the 15 minute drive to the neighborhood of Carderock Springs in Bethesda, walked into his house and killed his entire family using the mallet.
"He went from room to room," said Popkin. "And one at a time hit them around the head and and killed each one of them."
Popkin says Bishop killed his wife first. Then, he killed his three young sons as they slept in their beds. Bishop's mother entered the house after walking the family dog and she was killed. Authorities say Bishop put their bodies in the back of the station wagon and headed south for a 6-hour drive to North Carolina. Police say Bishop also took the family's golden retriever on the trip.
"A park ranger saw fire burning and immediately went to see what was going on. What he found was just absolutely grizzly. The discovery of five bodies in a shallow grave that was burning," said Popkin. That was on March 2nd. A gas can, a shovel, and a pitchfork were found near the gravesite. Detectives determined that a vehicle similar to Bishop's had been observed in the area of the fire at around 10:00 a.m. that morning.
That night, Bishop also bought a pair of tennis shoes at a sports store in Jacksonville, North Carolina, according to police.
A Bethesda neighbor called police at approximately noon on March 8, 1976, because she was concerned that she had not seen anyone at the home at 8103 Lilly Stone Drive for approximately one week.Montgomery County Police officers went to check on the home and that's when they discovered the bloody crime scene in several rooms of the home. They also discovered that the station wagon was gone.
Detectives had already been contacted by North Carolina authorities regarding five burned bodies and the shovel that was found was determined to have been purchased at a hardware store in Montgomery County. Until the neighbor's call, however, investigators had not been able to link the two incidents.
On March 9, Montgomery County Police detectives drove to North Carolina and used dental records, jewelry, and clothing descriptions to identify the bodies: 68-year-old Lobelia Bishop, 37-year-old Annette, 14-year-old William, 10-year-old Brent and 5-year-old Geoffrey.
A park ranger found Bishop's vehicle abandoned at the Elkmont campground in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Bloody clothing and an ax were found inside the station wagon.
PHOTO GALLERY: http://on.wusa9.com/1gd0XOk
Bishop's diplomatic passport was not found, and Popkin told us he believed that Bishop is still alive.
A Montgomery County grand jury indicted Bishop on March 18, 1976 for the murders of his family. Bishop and the family dog, however, have never been found, say police.
Bishop's career with the State Department, and before that the CIA, took him all over the world. He is fluent in five languages, according to authorities. At the State Department, one of his duties was making passports.
Bishop sightings have been reported all over the world. He has event been reported dead in Hong Kong and in France outside of Paris, but according to Popkin, fingerprints verified that it was not Bishop in either case.
He would be in his late seventies now.
WILLIAM BRADFORD BISHOP, JR'S MURDERPEDIA PROFILE: http://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/bishop-william-bradford.htm
The motive for the killings is unknown. Co-workers at the time say Bishop was passed over for a promotion right before his family was found dead. Neighbors talked about financial problems and Bishop's desire for overseas work and his wife Annette's desire to stay in Maryland.
Popkin said that Bishop was seeing a psychiatrist and taking medication for anxiety and depression.
"It is unthinkable that a man who is a son, a husband, and a father could commit such a terrible crime," said Chief Manger on Thursday. "The circumstances of this crime have motivated us to use all of the resources at our disposal to locate Bishop. Even 38 years later, we still look to bring justice in this case. We owe this to the victims, to their extended family members, and to the community. We will never give up on our efforts to hold Bradford Bishop accountable for the murders of his family members."