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After living the life of an international diplomat at posts around the world including Italy and Botswana, Foreign Service officer William Bradford "Brad" Bishop Jr. settled with his family in the Washington, D.C. area in the early 1970s. Colleagues say the transition to a desk job was difficult for Bishop, a Yale graduate who spoke six languages and knew how to fly a plane. He, like a lot of his State Department colleagues, felt enormous pressure to be promoted.
A former diplomat, Bishop has ties to Europe and Africa, but he could also be in Maryland, North Carolina, or elsewhere in the United States.
"It's up or out," explained Foreign Service officer James Bruno. "If you don't get promoted to a certain position in a certain amount of time, you're out. We all take that very seriously in the Foreign Service," he said, but Bishop "took it much more seriously than I guess the rest of us did."
When Bishop, who was 39 at the time, learned he had been passed over for a promotion on March 1, 1976, he left his job at the State Department early, telling his secretary he felt ill. He went to a hardware store, where he purchased a small sledgehammer and a gas can before heading to his home in Bethesda, Maryland. That evening, police say, Bishop fatally bludgeoned his mother, his wife and their three sons -- ages 14, 10, and 5 -- with the hammer.
The FBI added him to its Ten Most Wanted fugitives list.