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FBI adds 'Family Annihilator' to 10 most wanted list decades after crime

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The FBI added a man known as the "Family Annihilator" to its top 10 most wanted list on Thursday, nearly four decades after the brutal murders of his wife, mother and three sons in Maryland.

The former U.S. Department of State employee, William Bradford Bishop Jr., has been on the run since 1976 and could be hiding in plain sight, the FBI said. The agency added Bishop to its 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list, hoping the extra publicity will bring about his capture.

"When Bishop took off in 1976, there was no social media, no 24-hour news cycle," Steve Vogt, special agent in charge of the FBI's Baltimore Division, said in a statement. "The only way to catch this guy is through the public."

In March 1976, Bishop allegedly used a hammer to bludgeon his family, including his three boys ages 5, 10 and 14. Investigators believe he then set fire to the bodies in a shallow grave in North Carolina. He was last seen at a Jacksonville, North Carolina, sporting goods store, where he bought a pair of sneakers, the FBI said.

The FBI, along with the police and sheriff's departments of Montgomery County, Maryland, and the U.S. Department of State formed a task force last year to reinvestigate the Bishop case. As part of that effort, a forensic artist created a three-dimensional, age-enhanced bust of what Bishop may look like now, at 77 years old.

"If Bishop is living with a new identity, he's got to be somebody's next-door neighbor," Vogt said. "Don't forget that five people were murdered. Bishop needs to be held accountable for that."

A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading directly to Bishop's arrest, the FBI said.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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