The FBI announced on April 18, that Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel, 26, is now on the list and a reward of up to $100,000 was being offered for information leading to his capture. The announcement comes two years after escaping into hiding, the Indian man wanted for the 2015 murder of his wife in Maryland, as he becomes the newest addition to the FBIs Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Patel had been traveling in the US with his 21-year-old wife. At the time of the murder, both were working the night shift at a donut shop in Hanover, Maryland, owned by a relative of Patel’s. The agency warned that Patel, who stabbed his 21-year-old wife Palak multiple times with a large knife, should be considered armed and extremely dangerous. Palak was found beaten to death inside the restaurant kitchen in Hanover, Maryland on 12 April, 2015. Both the husband and wife were Dunkin’ Donuts employees.
Investigators believe that Patel could be with distant relatives in the US or that he could have fled to Canada. “Or he could have traveled through Canada back to India,” said special agent Jonathan Shaffer, who is investigating the case from the FBI’s Baltimore Division. “Those are among the plausible options we are exploring.” Gordon B. Johnson, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, said the extremely violent nature of the crimes allegedly committed by Bhadreshkumar earned him a place on the FBI’s Top Ten List.
After the murder, a customer who entered the shop realized something was wrong when no one came to take his order. He alerted a nearby Anne Arundel County Police Department officer, who discovered Palak Patel’s body. “It was horrific what had been done to this young woman,” Shaffer said.
Realizing that Patel was an international flight risk, local police requested FBI assistance, and several days after the murder, a federal arrest warrant was issued charging Patel with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. He has also been charged with his wife’s murder.
“Domestic violence homicides tend to be brutal, and this one certainly was,” said Anne Arundel County Police Department Det. Kelly Harding, who has handled many domestic violence cases during her nearly 20 years in law enforcement. “We almost always are able to find the suspects in these cases, and they are usually full of remorse, asking ‘What have I done?’ They are not taking a taxi cab and crossing state lines to escape.”
FBI believes the $100,000 reward will help in the capture of Patel. “Somebody out there who either sees the publicity or knows something already but has been reluctant to come forward will be encouraged by that amount of money,” he said. “Whether they do it for the right reasons or just for the money doesn’t really matter. Patel needs to be apprehended.”