This story was updated at 3:30 p.m. April 10, 2014.
William Bradford Bishop Jr., the man accused of killing his family with a mini-maul sledgehammer in their Montgomery County home 38 years ago, has been added to the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list, the FBI announced Thursday.
“Brad Bishop is wanted dead or alive,” said FBI Special Agent Steve Vogt, of the Baltimore field office.
Bishop, who would be 77 if he’s still living, is wanted in connection to the brutal slayings of his wife, three sons and mother in his home on Lilly Stone Drive in the Carderock Springs community in 1976.
Police allege that Bishop bludgeoned them to death, loaded their bodies into his 1974 Chevy Malibu station wagon, and drove to a rural part of North Carolina, where the bodies were set on fire in a shallow grave.
Authorities linked Bishop to the crime from a thumbprint found on a gas can. His blood-splattered vehicle was found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.
Bishop has not been seen since the year of the murder.
For decades police have chased him nationally and internationally, but leads thus far have all been dead ends.
Retired Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff Raymond Kight spent much of his 24-year career at the Sheriff’s Office investigating the case. He said Bishop’s addition to the Most Wanted List did not come sooner because investigators thought they had viable leads and felt they were on the verge of solving the case.
Vogt said a task force has been using all the tools available to law enforcement.
“We’ve finally reached the conclusion that we need your help,” Vogt said.
Bishop, a graduate of Yale, worked for the State Department and spoke different languages. He served in the U.S. military as a diplomat overseas, according to Carlos Matus, a special agent for the State Department.
Vogt said Bishop would have found it easy to establish a new identity — “a new life for himself, without many questions,” Vogt said.
Ron Hosko, with the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said law enforcement “firmly believes” Bishop could be living in plain sight.
During Thursday’s announcement, special agents with the FBI, officials from the U.S. Department of State and local law enforcement leaders unveiled an age-progressed bust of Bishop, with hopes it would help lead to his capture.
The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward. Montgomery County Sheriff Darren Popkin, who worked the case with Kight, said a task force was started to get Bishop on the “Ten Most Wanted” list. Popkin appeared to address Bishop directly when talking to reporters at the announcement.
“Brad, you’ve been living with this on your conscience for 38 years now,” said Popkin. “I am now the voice of your family. The time is now to contact law enforcement.”
Montgomery County police was part of the task force.
“Even 38 years later, we still look to bring justice in this case,” said Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger.”We owe this to the victims, the extended Bishop family and to our community. We will never give up on our efforts to hold Brad Bishop accountable for the murders of his family members. This is not our last chance.”
Bishop’s addition to the top 10 list comes after the surrender of Juan Elias Garcia in March. Garcia, a member of the MS-13 gang, was wanted for the execution-style murder of his girlfriend and 2-year-old son, according to the FBI.
Intern Christopher Neeley contributed to this report.