Crime History: State Department officer kills family in Bethesda

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

On this day, March 1, in 1976, U.S. Foreign Service Officer William Bradford Bishop Jr. bludgeoned his family to death with a sledgehammer inside their Bethesda home.

Bishop had learned that afternoon that he was passed over for a promotion. He withdrew $400 from a bank and bought a sledgehammer.

Bishop used the hammer to kill his wife, mother and three sleeping sons, William, 14, Brenton, 10, and Geoffrey, 5.

Their burned corpses were found weeks later in a swamp near Columbia, N.C. His bloody station wagon was discovered near the North Carolina-Tennessee border.

Bishop had been trained as a spy and was fluent in several languages.

He was last seen in Switzerland in 1994.

The former State Department official remains an international fugitive.

- Scott McCabe

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner