To me, it was just going to be our house in the United States. After driving through River Rd and crossing into Lilly Stone Dr, it would be there on the right after driving up an inclined driveway: 8103 Lilly Stone Dr, Bethesda, MD. When I heard we’d gotten it for a bit of a cheap price, I was surprised but nonetheless was happy our family had gotten such a good deal.
A week later, however, amidst the moving boxes and the empty rooms, my mom pulled my sister and me aside.
“I need to tell you both something so that you aren’t caught by surprise by anyone’s comments. Years ago, there was a gruesome murder here, and people still remember this house for that.” I wasn’t too bothered; it seemed a normal house then, and it still is now. But my sister was very scared (at the time she was 12), and this was only the beginning of our troubles.
A few days ago, my parents tuned in to a new CNN show called ‘The Hunt’, which is essentially a spin-off of To Catch A Predator, but dealing with uncaught criminals. And clearly, this show would be incomplete if it didn’t include one of the FBI’s top ten Most Wanted Criminals. So, again, our little house will be thrust into the spotlight as the show embarks on its manhunt for Bradford Bishop.
Bishop was an employee of the State Department (or a CIA agent, depending on whether you buy into the rumors) who, after getting passed over for a promotion, brutally bludgeoned his wife, mother, and three children in the very place I call home. He’s been on the run ever since (“Wanted for Murder, Child Abuse, Fraud: Where Are They?”).
It is justifiable that people still want to catch this murderer, even fifty years after the incident. I believe in justice, I believe if this guy is out there, he should be captured, but what I will not stand for is this morbid obsession with the house.
How do you think fourteen year old me felt when he boarded his school bus only a month after moving here, and was greeted by a kid asking “So, met any ghosts in your house”?
How do you think my mother felt every time she had to turn away anxious reporters who arrived on our doorstep to shed more unwanted light on our house?
And I get it. Humans want closure, we want answers. When Inception ended on a cliffhanger, we all wanted to know if the spinning top fell or not (which there is, by the way, a brilliant discussion about by Kyle Johnson, called ‘Inception and Philosophy’, but I digress). When series like Star Wars and Harry Potter “ended,” we wanted more, and went to the expanded universe or to fanfiction on the Internet. So I understand our need for answers, our desire for every detail available.
But I come from a country where, for some time, people were routinely murdered in a quasi civil war; where heads that had been chopped off would be used as a soccer ball; where my parents barely survived an exploding car a block behind them. We come from fifty years of violence and death, so we really don’t need more focus on a gruesome murder that happened in a house we didn’t know in a year when I wasn’t born and my parents weren’t even 25.
Will this show bring more journalists and interested parties to our doorsteps? Probably. I can’t do anything to stop them – I won’t infringe on their right to information. But I’ll also provide some other information.
8103 Lilly Stone Dr is also the home to a Colombian family. In the house, there is a fifty-something employee of the Colombian Mission to the OAS who loves jazz music and photography. There lives a forty-something mother of two who works at the OAS and worked as a journalist and then as a Franklin Covey facilitator. There is a sixteen year old ballet dancer and student at Walt Whitman High who, by the way, does very well in her classes. And there is, when not in college, a nineteen year old who loves LEGO, is in his college’s Forensics Team, and just wants everyone to know that, while Bishop had his own story, the people living in that house have their own story too.