By Tim Swift, The Baltimore Sun
1:46 PM EDT, April 10, 2014
The FBI announced Thursday that a Maryland man — who is accused killing his wife, mother and three sons in 1976 — has been added to the bureau's 10 most wanted list.
Authorities say William Bradford Bishop Jr., a cultured, high-ranking State Department official, beat his wife, Annette, 37, to death with a sledgehammer on March 1, 1976 in Carderock Springs, an upper-class Bethesda neighborhood.
Authorities allege he then waited for his mother, Lobelia Bishop, 68, who lived with the family, to return from walking the dog, and then killed her with the same weapon.
Police say Bishop then moved onto the bedrooms of his three sleeping sons, William Bradford III, 14, Brenton Germaine, 10, and Geoffrey Cordon, 5, and in one final burst of fury, wielded the sledgehammer three more times, until they lay still in their blood-soaked beds.
The last confirmed sighting of Bishop was at a North Carolina sporting goods store a day after murders, the FBI said.
The passage of more than three decades has done little to diminish Bishop sightings and leads that still reach police. According to police and newspaper reports, he has been spotted in Spain, Italy, Sweden, Africa, Greece, England, Finland, Belgium, Russia and Switzerland.
Steve Vogt, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Division, said the bureau hopes Bishop's elevation to the most wanted list will renew interest in the crime.
"Media wasn't the same in 1976 as it is now. You didn't have 24-hour news stations that many people watch in the gym or sitting in airports. You also didn't have social media, like Facebook or Twitter back then," said Steve Vogt, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Division. "All that has changed with the Bishop case is the passage of time."
The FBI describes Bishop as a white man, 6'1" tall and 180 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes when he was last seen in 1976. He has a six-inch vertical surgical scar on his lower back that would still be visible. The FBI tasked top forensic artist Karen T. Taylor with creating a bust of what Bishop may look like now at the age of 77.
A reward of up to $100,00 is being offered for information leading to Bishop's arrest, the FBI said. Those with information are asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Sun reporter Frederick N. Rasmussen contributed to this article.
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