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