How the Death of a Multimillionaire Developer Revealed Dark Family Secrets: 'Pretty Incomprehensible'
On April 18, 2018, 16-year-old Alexander Bishop called 911 to report a tragedy in his Durham, N.C. home: His 59-year-old father Bill was unresponsive, with a dog leash wrapped around his neck with the dog attached to it.
“I think my dad is dead,” Alexander told the 911 dispatcher.
The teen added that his “dog got his, like, collar wrapped around his throat. His face is purple, and his heart’s not beating.”
The successful land developer — who moved from Florida to North Carolina in 2008 to get a doctorate — died three days later at Duke Hospital.
Bill’s death was shocking. Even more shocking was the medical examiner’s ruling that Bill’s death was a homicide by strangulation. The case took an even more startling turn in February when Alexander, a star student at an elite private school, was charged with murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
In a search warrant affidavit, Durham police investigator T. Huelsman alleged Alexander told an EMS supervisor that “he wasn’t going to be upset about his father dying. He explained that his father verbally abused him and his mom for a number of years.”
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Huelsman also alleged in the affidavit that investigators found a purchase order for gold bars totaling $462,773 on Bishop’s desk — but they never found the gold itself. What they did allegedly find were searches on Alexander’s cell phone on “the price of gold per ounce” and “how to calculate the value of an estate.”
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However, in April, Alexander’s attorney Allyn Sharp fired back in defense motions, claiming the statements made by Huelsman in the search warrants were “intentionally false or made in reckless disregard of the truth and include intentional misstatements and material omissions.”
In one of the motions, Sharp said the purchase order for the gold bars “clearly” showed the bars had been sold in 2016 and weren’t missing. Sharp said that the footage from the officer’s body-worn cameras also contradicted some of Huelsman’s claims and that responding officers could be heard speculating that Bill may have had a heart attack and startled the dog that was attached to the leash, inadvertently strangling him.