tv The Hunt With John Walsh CNN December 27, 2014 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
>> that is an amazing story about a guy we all love a lot, d don lemon. before we go, former president george h.w. bush's condition we are told is improving. the president was hospitalized in houston this week after experiencing shortness of breath. he will remain in the hospital through the weekend, but doctors are now discussing a date for his discharge. we wish him well. i'm poppy harlow. thank you so much for being with me tonight. right now, a marathon of "the hunt" with john walsh begins. back in 1981, i had the american dream. the beautiful wife, the house in the suburbs. and a beautiful 6-year-old son. and one day i went to work, kissed my son goodbye. and never saw him again. in two weeks, i became the parent of a murdered child. and i'll always be the parent of a murdered child.
i still have the heart ache, i still have the rage. i waited years for justice. i know what it's like to be there waiting for some answers. and over those years, i learned how to do one thing really well. and that's how to catch these bastards and bring them back to justice. i've become a manhunter. i'm out there looking for bad guys. afoot and light-hearted. i take to the open road. the long, brown path before me leading wherever i choose. hence forth, i ask not good fortune. i myself am good fortune.
eastern north carolina is well-known for commercial companies that work in this area, growing trees. and so there was a whole series of forestry fire towers in eastern north carolina. in fact, all across the state. about 12:40 p.m. on march the 2nd, 1976, a ranger on highway 94 observed a fire. he was under the impression it was some type of disposal, maybe, of a farm animal. i received a call through the state radio system requesting our assistance.
after i got there, here was this pile of dirt, a shovel off to one side. there was a red gas can. it was like someone had just dropped everything, set it on fire, and fled. but i did not realize at that point it was going to get much, much worse. i was seeing a leg sticking out and an arm and shoes. it was human beings in this hole. we took these first two bodies
off. there was another body. we removed the third body, and then there was another body. how many bodies can be in this hole? finally, after the fifth one, we found the bottom of the hole, thank god. no one knew who these people were. we were thinking, why aren't we having any reports in about people missing? >> in the old days, it was pretty prehistoric. there was no social media back then. there was no dna. but they worked the case really hard. >> ultimately, the only thing we had that we could look at as a tag on a shovel that was like a price tag that had a partial name on it for a store. >> this is the shovel found when
the fire was started. and then this tag right here, all you can make out, you see ochhd. so in '76 when they found this, that's the only clue they had. >> but we did not have any stores in north carolina that ended in o-c-h hardware. so myself and another agent left north carolina inquiring about having any hardware stores with those letters in the name. every department bent over backwards to try to help us. they just didn't have any information. then we went to the metropolitan police in washington, d.c., and they were familiar with a store in potomac, maryland. and the name of the store was
poch, p-o-c-h, hardware. >> investigators speak to the hardware store owner. they post a flier at the hardware store of the victims. they only put four of the victims on the flier, because one was so badly injured. >> at that point, we didn't know how to proceed in that area, and myself and the agent returned back to north carolina. >> one thing that i've learned first hand, unequivocally, it only takes one small tip to break open a case. the public is the biggest resource that law enforcement has. and in this case, a good citizen did the right thing, and really
drew attention to at that little house in bethesda, maryland. >> a neighbor said they hadn't seen the family in a week, and the papers and mail were backing up. because normally, the family would actually tell the neighbors they were going out of town, they were going somewhere. >> i received a call. they told me to go into the residence in bethesda. as soon as i got in there, the whole thing was just, you know, awful to even look at. blood dripping down and pooling up on the floor. it was like a horror house.
>> montgomery county authorities picked up the flyer we had left at the hardware, and the neighbors identified it as the bishop family. the whole family was described repeatedly by a number of people as being the perfect foreign service family. brad bishop, rising star in the state department. trophy children. beautiful wife. talented. bishop's mother, living with them. >> victims of the crime were bishop's mother, 68 years old. and anecessities bishop, 37 years old. william bradley bishop iii, 13 years old. breton bishop, 10 years old.
they were beautiful people. >> ebalia, the one i knew the best. she was the great grandmother that everyone would have loved to have had. they were there all of the time, ready to pitch in and help cook a meal, watch the children so you could go to a movie. she was a nurturer. trying to make his life easier. her son. >> he was the most unlikely suspect. he belonged to the right country club. he had the three beautiful boys in a very nice school. he was well respected. but it is police work 101. they started looking at brad bishop right away, because he wasn't with the rest of the family. >> the foreign service in those days was what they call male, kale and yale.
very few women, very few minorities and a lot of ivy league. and brad wish oppose was all of those. >> nobody denied brad bishop was smart, but he was always rather definitive. this is my opinion, it's the correct opinion, and after all, i'm a graduate of yale and middle berry. >> he received quick promotions. he was posted to italy. after that, to africa, to be the number two in the embassy. >> when you are sent to an embassy in another part of the world, you have status. it's limousines, it's drivers. it's a beautiful residence. and you're treated with respect. >> but it's an up or out system. if you don't get promoted to a certain grade within a certain number of years, then you're let go. we all take that very seriously in the foreign service. brad bishop took it much more seriously than i guess the rest of us did.
>> they were coming back to washington. and merbalia was so happy, because her grandchildren discovered they were american. sundaes and hot dogs and little league. >> but for brad bishop, being posted back here in washington was a bit of a shocker. >> he was not happy with his job. he didn't like being penned into an office. >> he had financial pressures. it's easier to live overseas financially. >> his mother was financing a lot of their lifestyle. but his mother was running out of money. >> he would look forward to his next assignment, being posted overseas. but annette, brad's wife, was
getting very much attached to living in suburban washington. so brad bishop obviously was under pressure. >> he actually purchased a motorcycle, because he liked to be alone. he liked the privacy of being on a motorcycle. the solitude. >> it wasn't crucial at that point in his career that he would be promoted to the next rank. but in his own mind, it was everything. he felt he had to get promoted. >> bishop's wife that morning spent three hours with an acquaintance, saying i need to
find work. we're in serious financial straits here. >> brad bishop ran into several people at the office that day, and he was short-tempered. he's angry that morning. finally tells his supervisor he doesn't feel well and he's going home. >> i was on my way back to the state department, and at the 21st street entrance. and suddenly there in front of me is brad bishop. i said, you look like you've lost your best friend. he said, i didn't get promoted. it's now official. i said, well, i didn't either. and he said, but i'm far more deserving than you. i said, well, why don't you just go home, and get in bed, and we can get together next week. and i just stood there watching him leave.
but there was never a next week. >> he had definitely made the decision at that point what he was going to do. >> how can a man like this turn dark? >> people just don't snap overnight. he had been building up to this. he was filled with that anger and rage. i will take beauty into my own hands... where it belongs olay regenerist renews to reveal new skin in only five days. without drastic measures. stunningly youthful. award-winning skin. from the world's #1. olay. your best beautiful.
♪ brad bishop, when he did not get promoted, he was devastated. on march 1st, 1976, he checked out of the state department in the afternoon. got in his station wagon. he drove to a mall in maryland, suburban washington. >> it was approximately 6:00 p.m. that bishop is then spotted in a sears department store where he purchases a two-and-a-half pound mini maul sledgehammer. bishop walked away from the counter, then came back with a gas can and purchased that.
then filled his family station wagon with gas and also filled the gas can. >> a young lady stayed with the bishop family a number of days earlier. and they would have family dinner at the same time, pretty much, every day. but he never said anything at the dinner table. he was quiet. he was aloof. on march the 1st, after dinner, mr. bishop's mother takes the dog out for a walk. neighbors actually see her out that evening, walking the dog. >> the wife was downstairs in a study area. >> two of the boys were in one room. in their pajamas. the teenager is actually in his own room. >> he then used that mini hammer, that sledgehammer, and
used it to bludgeon to death his wife first. >> they found her notes there on the shag carpet submerged in a pool of blood. >> one of her earrings was found in the study on the floor. >> once he had killed her, he took her back into the master bedroom. laid her on the bed. then you go upstairs and you see where the 14-year-old son was murdered. blood everywhere. >> he did not have background of criminality or violence. so how could somebody who is very much like myself turn dark? >> people just don't snap
overnight. he had been building up to this. he was filled with that anger and rage, and went room by room by room. >> you go in where those two little boys slept. seemed like all three of them were pretty good athletes, because on the wall were ribbons from awards they had won. all splattered with blood. >> jeffrey was bludgeoned in the top bunk bed. >> the hammer marks on the
ceiling was the thing i'll never forget. the number of marks that were in there. how many times he must have hit his son. >> and then when his mother returned home -- >> if she was out walking the dog and came in, did he meet her at the door, and did she say, oh, brad, what a surprise, and then he went to hit her with a hammer? i don't know. >> she ducked into the bathroom, tried to lock herself in there, thinking she might be safe. >> i can't -- i can't understand it. what did he look like, his face? right? distorted? calm? i can't see his face. i just see this
powerful-shouldered man with a hammer. kicking in the door. but i see verbalia, the terror in her heart. >> same thing, with a hammer blow to the head. >> he beat his family to death. what did he do next? he took a shower. because all they were to brad bishop was an impediment. he felt that this is just baggage to keep me from the life that i deserve. and he got rid of that baggage in the most horrible way. >> he then collected the bodies of all of his family members,
and he put them in the station wagon. >> there's a wonderful poem by yates. love is a crooked thing. there's none that knows all that's in it. for one would be thinking of love until the sun ran away and the shadows cover the moon. but the line, oh love is a crooked thing. didn't he love his children? love is a crooked thing. there's none that knows all that's in it. right? the murder is not over when the victims die. the murder is over after he has
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the person has a sense of well-being. and you would never dream in a thousand years that they just killed somebody. why? because they just took off 50 pounds of emotional weight off their souls. no guilt at all. absolutely none. ♪ >> from this hour, i ordain myself left of limits and imaginary lines. >> bishop had a journal and on the first page he writes a passage of the open road. there are a lot of statements about master being your destiny, not letting people hold you back. >> going where i list, my own master totally and absolute. >> it's also this man force riding his way across the landscape.
smiting trees in his way. >> the east and the west are mine. >> there's a tremendous ego. i don't need anything. i will take a sledgehammer and hammer anything in my way. >> the stale cadaver blocks up the passage. the burial waits no longer. ♪ >> he drove 275 miles south. >> then to a state road, to then to a rural road. and the logging road wasn't even on the maps. truly, you don't just find the spot happenstance. he had to have been down there before.
♪ dug a shallow grave. >> he just didn't dig this hole in 15 minutes. it took some time to dig it three feet deep. >> he then placed all of the bodies of his family members in that shallow grave. >> it was jeffrey on the bottom, brenton, annette, william bradford iii and then lebelia. >> their murder is not over when the victims die.
their murder is over after he has finally sated his anger against them. >> he's still killing them, even after their death. >> why he burned the bodies, i just don't know. he could have buried them deeper and covered them up and who knows if they ever would have been found. >> you see, it doesn't count unless somebody sees it. he's making a statement.
i, william bradford wibishop, a in control. these are my family members. i did it. screw you. bye. >> with the forestry tower only being about a mile, we probably got there not long after the perpetrator had left. >> and there was evidence of a peelout of a car. so they just missed each other. >> approximately two-and-a-half hours south of the grave site, bishop was observed in the store, and he purchased a pair of low-top tennis shoes. >> he had to get rid of his actual shoes, because they were covered by blood and other material. ask then he uses his credit card to identify himself at a store that he has to know that we're
going to find. >> they found the station wagon at the great smoky national park, in a parking lot. >> he didn't clean out the car either. all of the evidence was left in the car. >> they found dog biscuits. they found a bottle of serax, an antidepressant drug. the spare tire well was filled with blood, caked blood. >> he had a shotgun in the car and shotgun shells, but he left them behind. we believe he was carrying a revolver with him when he walked away from the park. >> it was good police work. they were right behind him. they were breathing down his neck. that's what everybody thought. >> for days, we conducted very extensive search. >> we checked every hotel, unidentified bodies that were found all the way up through the appalachians. >> but in retrospect,
everybody -- everybody underestimated the intelligence and cunning of brad bishop. >> he just disappeared. vanished. >> nobody knows where he went. nobody knows. >> i just impulsively said, you're brad bishop. and he began trembling and shaking. and turned around. my grandson's got this blankie that gets filthy. but he's got such sensitive skin that you worry about what you use in the laundry my tide pods, downy and bounce all come in free & gentle so we get a cleaner, softer blankie. gasp hypoallergenic tide, downy and bounce free
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♪ brad bishop committed an atrocious homicide. having children myself, it's just inexplainable how anyone could do that to their own children. their own wife. their own mother. >> montgomery county sheriff's department. they believe bishop's family deserves justice. never going to give up on this case.
because he is still out there. >> oftentimes when people aren't found quickly, people speculate. there's been a lot of speculation over the years. but what i want to stress is that we need to deal in facts. >> we reopened the case back in the early '90s. we have looked at every sing he lead that has ever come in and every witness. one of the things we did was, we actually went to the state department and looked at the personnel file. and we found a letter that was sent by a known bank robber. by the name of bankston. >> so brad bishop had been in correspondence with a convict. now why? >> bankston claimed bishop was trying to get somebody else to
actually commit the murders. bishop was in europe at one point and thought his family would be murdered. but he came home and they were all still alive. and then when bishop said, hey, you didn't do this, why not, they said, well, you're not getting your money back and we're not committing the murders. >> he was with the mafia, bankston. bankston told us you don't go around killing children. he was laughing at bishop. we don't do that. >> but unfortunately, we were never able to actually get someone to say, yes, here are the people that bishop was trying to hire to do this. >> this man died long ago. he's no longer around to be questioned. >> a lot of those leads were a part of the mystique. he was living the secret private life. i don't know if we'll ever figure out, does he have
mistresses, secret bank accounts, does he gamble, does he take drugs? because he's good at keeping under the radar. >> this is a man you could put into any number of environments. and he could thrive. >> his training with the state department really would have provided him the ability to know where to hide, how to hide. he spoke six different languages. >> he got a master's degree in italian. he was fluent. >> he had an expertise in developing passports. >> he was also an airplane pilot. and he was definitely flying a small plane when he was working in africa. >> he thought, i can't be a one-star father or a one-star member of society. but i can be a five-star fugitive. >> there are three credible
sightings of brad bishop over the years. a swedish woman that he knew in ethiopia said she spotted him twice in a park in stockholm. a former neighbor from maryland, she and her husband saw brad bishop in bassal, switzerland. on a train. stared at him, right in his eyes. and then there was roy harrell, who is a friend and colleague. >> all these years -- and i really thought nothing more of -- about brad bishop until sorento. i don't normally speak to people in men's rooms. i thought he was a vagrant.
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able to corroborate. but this one really kind of surprised me. a book was all of a sudden found at a flea market in north carolina. and we are 100% certain, based on handwriting analysis, it was his diary. >> may 3rd, 1967. you've got to project your vision before you. you must make sacrifices of time and effort. >> to go back and look at some of the dark writings that he was doing, it was clear to us that this is not something that snapped that night. he was really heading in a downward spiral for about ten years before he commits the murders. >> as the years go by, his
writing becomes more disjointed. his handwriting becomes less legible. >> this accursed insomnia makes me sleazy. it cannot reconcile the total, absolute indifference of god to me. >> he obviously was wrestling with emotions but not fully equipped to do so. >> love is compatible with ambition. egoism. premonitions of special destiny. >> he felt he was going to be found out. his answer to that stress was to kill his entire family and start over again. >> one last great effort. come home. >> that journal is as good as a
bloody fingerprint at the scene. it just shows what a sociopathic, cold-blooded, narcissistic killer we're dealing with. >> killing is always easier after you've done it. if somebody started to demean him, of course he can kill again. >> last year we all agreed to make one final concerted effort as a team to solve this mystery once and for all. >> getting bishop on the top ten list was important because now it's on everybody's smartphone, facebook, twitter. >> age-enhanced bust is the best representation you can have of what bishop looks like now. >> the arrogance is still going to be there. he wants to be important more than anything else, okay? in my opinion you'll still find him trying to dress well, trying to eat well, see himself as important and superior. >> but what i want to emphasize to the public is that we have to look wherever we can for this guy. perhaps that stress was so much that he would welcome the job at
a gas station or a menial job. he wouldn't have to live up anymore to the image that other people expected of him. so we have to look anywhere. >> we just have to get that one tip. we just have to get that one person that says, you know that old man over there, that guy that looks like somebody's grandfather? i think he might be that mass murderer brad bishop. i'm going to make that call. and i don't care whether it's a week old or 38 years old. he should pay. >> it's just too big and tragic and monumental.
i mean, the killing of a mother and a wife and the children. the disappearing. what is the answer? who can explain this? i think if we don't keep trying to solve it, it's not finished. to solve it, it's not finished. >> brad bishop has a six-inch scar on his lower back and a mole on his left cheek. he's fond of dogs and the outdoors. if you've seen brad bishop or have any information as to his whereabouts, please call 1-866-the-hunt or cnn.com/thehunt. we'll pass your tip on to the proper authorities, and if requested will not reveal your name. >> it's sexy to talk about the mystique and legend of brad bishop, former army intelligence, worldwide diplomatic services guy. that he might be living the good life in europe. it's glamorous. but in the end, people are going
to remember him for one thing. being a horrible coward bully. back in 1981, i had the american dream, the beautiful wife, the house in the suburbs, and a beautiful 6-year-old son. and one day i went to work, kissed my son good-bye, and never saw him again. in two weeks, i became the parent of a murdered child and i'll always be the parent of a murdered child. i still have the heartache. i still have the rage. i waited years for justice. i know what it's like to be there waiting for some answers, and over those years, i learned