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  • Writer's pictureVanny Nunez

Robert William Fisher - Deadly Disappearing Dad

Classification: Murderer

Characteristics: Parricide - Arson

Number of victims: 3

Date of crimes: April 10, 2001

Date of arrest: On the run

Date of birth: April 13, 1961

Victims profile: His wife Mary Fisher, 38, and her two children, Brittney Fisher, 12, and Robert "Bobby" William Fisher, Jr., 10

Method of murder: Shooting - Slitting their throats

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Status: Remains at large

Brief synopsis:

Just before 9am on Tuesday April 10, 2001 an explosion tore through a south Scottsdale house. In the ruins of the house police found the family of Robert Fisher and quickly deduced that his wife and two kids had been killed prior to the explosion. Fisher was named a suspect in a triple homicide. Robert’s wife, his 10-year-old, and his 12-year-old, had likely died from having their throats slashed before the fire. Shortly after the crime, the SUV and and his son’s dog were found near Payson, AZ. Fisher was nowhere to be found.

Robert Fisher was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List on June 29, 2002. Police believe Fisher called America’s Most Wanted Program in August, 2001 from Chester, VA

Early life

Fisher was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1961 to William Fisher, a banker, and Jan Howell. Fisher has two sisters and he attended Sahuaro High School (( in Tucson. Fisher's parents divorced in 1976, when he was 15. According to friends and relatives the divorce was extremely difficult, leaving long-lasting effect to Robert, who still talked about the split with co-workers at Mayo Clinic Hospital. Fisher confided to one associate that his life could have been different if his mother hadn't left the family.

Family life

Robert Fisher, a Navy veteran, married Mary Cooper in 1987. Fisher has worked as a surgical catheter technician, respiratory therapist and firefighter, and is an avid outdoorsman, hunter, and fisherman. Fisher was described as a cruel and distant control freak of a father who was awkward with his children, but tried to hold on to an image as a devoted family man. His mother-in-law, Ginny Cooper, told investigators that "Fisher didn't socialize often with family because of a fear of getting too close to people and losing them."

Fisher's mother told investigators that she had been a "yes-sir" wife who didn't stand up to her husband. She added that she saw similar dynamics early in her son's marriage to Mary, and had talked to her daughter-in-law about her concerns. One close friend of Robert Fisher stated that his family resembled Fisher's childhood family.

Marital troubles

Fisher had been an active member of the Scottsdale Baptist Church's men's ministry, but unlike Mary, he had begun to withdraw from his church's activities a few months prior the murders.

In 1998, the Fishers went to their church's senior pastor for marital counseling. Fisher told co-workers about a one-night affair with a prostitute he met in a massage parlor. He fretted that his wife would find out. That encounter was the cause of a urinary tract infection that left him ill for several days in December 2000.

Fisher told a hunting mate that he was renewing his commitment to his faith and his marriage because he "could not live without his family", possibly hinting that he would consider suicide over divorce. According to psychologists, an intense fear of loss is not unusual for an individual traumatized by divorce while an adolescent.

In the weeks before her death, Mary Fisher told several friends she was going to divorce her husband. According to a neighbor of Fisher family, the couple had a loud argument on April 9, at 10:30, approximately ten hours before the house blew up in an explosion.

Triple murder and arson

On the morning of April 10, 2001, Mary Fisher was shot in the back of the head and her children's throats were slashed from ear to ear in the hours before their home exploded.

Firefighters were immediately alerted due to a natural gas explosion and fire in a Scottsdale house. The explosion ripped through the ranch-style house in the 2000 block of North 74th Place at 8:42 a.m. The blast appeared to be centered in the living room, and the subsequent fire burned the house into rubble. The initial explosion was strong enough to collapse the front brick wall and rattle the frames of neighboring houses for a half-mile in all directions.

Rural/Metro Fire Department firefighters were on the scene within minutes and kept the 20-foot-high blaze from spreading to neighboring houses. A series of smaller secondary explosions, believed to be either rifle ammunition or paint cans going up, forced firefighters to keep their distance. One firefighter suffered minor injuries to his leg when he lost his balance and fell near the burning house.

Evidence of the homicide had allegedly been tried to be concealed by pulling out the gas line from the back of the home's furnace. The accumulating gas was later ignited by an ignition source, possibly the pilot light on the water heater. Burned bodies of a woman and two children were found lying in bed in the remains of the house.

The victims were identified as Mary Fisher (aged 38), and her two children, Brittney Fisher (aged 12) and Robert "Bobby" William Fisher, Jr. (aged 10). Investigators have considered that Robert Fisher murdered his family because he felt threatened with his wife's intent to divorce. Despite their marital difficulties, he vowed that his marriage would never dissolve.


On April 14, Robert William Fisher, who disappeared at the time of murders, was named as an official (and to date only) suspect of the case on April 14, 2001 when Arizona Department of Public Safety officers were instructed in a statewide bulletin to arrest him.

Fisher was last seen captured in a surveillance photo on the night of the murders withdrawing $280 from the ATM machine at the Wells Fargo on Scottsdale and McDowell roads in Scottsdale. He was wearing an Oakland Raiders baseball cap and driving Mary’s silver 2000 Toyota 4-Runner. Police later found the baseball cap left inside the vehicle, though the other items missing from the home were never found, fueling speculation that Fisher likely fled the scene where the vehicle was found. A number of possibilities were suspected by police. One theorized that Fisher might have had an accomplice who transported him away from the site, though no physical evidence has ever supported that scenario. Another supposed that Fisher may have hitchhiked or obtained a ride that took him away from the scene.

On July 19, 2001, an Arizona Superior Court state arrest warrant was issued at Phoenix, charging Fisher with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson. Subsequently, Fisher was declared a fugitive, and a federal arrest warrant was issued by the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

On June 29, 2002, he was named by the FBI as the 475th fugitive to be placed on the Ten Most Wanted list. He is also on the America's Most Wanted "Dirty Dozen" list of that show's most notorious fugitives. The FBI offers a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to his capture.

As of April 2003, FBI had received "hundreds and hundreds of leads". However, all sightings of Fisher have been inconclusive or false.

In February 2004, an individual with a striking physical resemblance to Robert Fisher was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Fingerprints eventually confirmed that the man was not Fisher. He was held by Canadian police for approximately one week until a family member correctly identified him.

Fisher is considered armed and extremely dangerous and has ties to Florida and New Mexico. He has been speculated to have committed suicide or started a new life under an assumed identity. Fisher has been described as a loner and is thought to live alone in an isolated area..

Conspiracy theories and assumptions:

  • Robert Fisher may have been having an affair with a woman that worked with him.

  • It is assumed that he has changed his appearance, possibly by growing his hair or adding facial hair.

  • Scottsdale Police believes that a caller to the America's Most Wanted Program in August 2001 was Fisher. The call was made from Chester, VA. The case has appeared twice on America's Most Wanted. It is likely that the story will be aired again and that it will also appear on Unsolved Mysteries.

  • The FBI believes that Fisher may be working in a medical position, or living in a small town with a menial job.

  • Vanny from Time from crime also noted an interesting coincidence (or is it?) that his daughter was 12, his wife was 38 and his son was 10 years old. The last digits of the 3 ages in that order make up 280 which is also the amount he withdrew from the ATM before disappearing. An ATM can disperse up to $800 per day, so why this uniquely uneven figure?

Crime scene photos:

If you can help:

If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Robert William Fisher, you are urged to call the Scottsdale Police Department at (480) 312-2716 or the Phoenix FBI Office at (602) 279-5511. The FBI offers a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to his capture.



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