A North Carolina woman who was adopted discovered via DNA test and newly found relatives that her biological father was a mass murderer from Montgomery County, Maryland, who was put on the FBI's most-wanted list in 2014.
Kathy Gillcrist said she always knew she was adopted, and wanted to track down relatives using a 23andMe DNA test in 2017, NBC affiliate WECT reports.
She found a third cousin, Susan Gillmor, who turned out to be a successful genealogist in Maine.
Gillmor agreed to help her newly found cousin track down her father.
As it turned out, the two women were not the only ones trying to track down William Bradford Bishop. The U.S. government had also been trying to find him since the 1970s, when he was accused of brutally murdering his wife, mother and three sons in their home in Bethesda, Maryland.
“[Gillmor] said ‘OK, I found your father. All I’m going to do is give you his name,’” Gillcrist told WECT. “I said, ‘Is it someone famous?’ She said, ‘Um, yeah.’ I just laughed. We have a great sense of humor in my adoptive family and I thought, ‘Of course, my father’s a murderer!’”
The Case Against William Bradford Bishop
The trail for Bishop has been cold for 45 years. But that hasn't stopped authorities from trying to find the man they say killed his wife, mother and three sons.
On the night of March 1, 1976, according to police, Bishop withdrew $400 from a bank before leaving work, telling his boss he might be getting the flu.
But before going to his home in Bethesda, Bishop drove to Sears at Montgomery Mall and bought a gas can and a short-handled sledgehammer. He then headed to a hardware store in Potomac Village, where he purchased a shovel and a pitchfork.
Once home, authorities say, Bishop used the sledgehammer to kill his family: his wife, Annette; his mother, Lobelia, and his three sons, 14-year-old Brad, 10-year-old Brenton, and 5-year-old Geoffrey.
Bishop then traveled with their bodies to the tiny town of Columbia, North Carolina, police say. There, he buried his family in a shallow grave and set their bodies on fire.
Later, investigators would find Bishop’s car in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, abandoned in a parking space at the base of a trail. Police think he left it there after driving eight hours from Jacksonville, N.C., where a store owner remembered a man with a dog buying a pair of Converse tennis shoes on March 2, 1976.
After that, the trail went cold.
If Bishop is still alive, he would be 84 years old now. The FBI says he spoke English, French, Italian, Serbo-Croatian and Spanish, and had a six-inch vertical surgical scar on his lower back.
“Nothing has changed since March 2, 1976 when Bishop was last seen except the passage of time,” Steve Vogt, special agent in charge of the FBI's Baltimore Division, said in 2014.