The Hunt for Robert Fisher: 20 years later

Robert Fisher, the Scottsdale man accused of killing his family and rigging his dwelling to explode, stays on FBI’s Most Wished Listing 20 years after the heinous crime.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It’s a heinous part of Arizona’s historic previous. A family found ineffective after their Scottsdale dwelling blew up in 2001.  The solely suspect of their murders? The family’s father and husband, Robert Fisher, who hasn’t been definitively seen as a result of the night time time sooner than the home explosion.  

Scottsdale police and the FBI nonetheless acquire concepts every week, nonetheless nothing’s ever panned out.  Right here’s a breakdown of the case and what investigators are doing to keep up searching for options.

April 10, 2001

The identify received right here in spherical 8:30 inside the morning. A home explosion in Scottsdale off of 74th Place, near 74th and Oak Streets. When crews obtained to the scene, video reveals neighbors have been already exterior with yard hoses attempting to tame the flames.

“I don’t give it some thought on a regular basis however when it comes up, the pictures are very vivid and the reminiscences come again fairly sturdy,” says Pastor Gregg Cantelmo, who remembers seeing the smoke and flames leaping inside the sky from shut by Scottsdale Baptist Church.

“Numerous trauma,” he remembers.

Investigators shortly revealed they found three of us ineffective inside the home: 38-year-old Mary Fisher and her two kids, 12-year-old Brittney and 10-year-old Bobby.  Their father, Robert Fisher, was nowhere to be found.

At first, no one knew if Robert Fisher was inside, too.  Or whether or not or not he was at work, unaware of his family’s future.  Police shortly realized that Mary, Brittney and Bobby’s throats have been all slashed sooner than the explosion and Mary was moreover shot behind the top, execution mannequin.

Police formally named Robert Fisher as a suspect in his family’s murders when he didn’t level out up inside the days following their deaths.  

They traced his last recognized sighting to an ATM near the family’s dwelling in Scottsdale.  They are saying he took out $280.  ATM cameras current his partner Mary’s missing Toyota 4 Runner inside the background.

12 Information video from the instances following Mary, Brittney and Bobby’s deaths reveals an outpouring of help from the group.  Their cul-de-sac turned a memorial web site full of balloons, indicators, photos and totally different mementos in honor of the youthful family. 

“Wherever you’re Robert, we love you,” Mary’s father, Invoice Cooper, instructed reporters in 2001. “Simply come dwelling. I don’t know what’s occurring. We don’t know something for certain. However we’d like to listen to from you. Please, Robert.”

It’d be 10 days sooner than his family obtained any additional options, that solely led to additional questions.

April 20, 2001

Investigators shifted their focus to Arizona’s extreme nation inside the days following the explosion.  It was in the long run a tip from a camper that led police to Mary’s Toyota 4Runner tucked deep inside the woods, east of Younger, Arizona.  The SUV was cleaned.  The family’s canine, Blue, found guarding it on the pores and skin. Robert Fisher himself, nowhere in sight.

Search crews spent the following three days searching the powerful terrain, which included dense woods and a system of caves.  They moreover encountered some snow that compelled them to maneuver rigorously as to not mark up the world.

The massive manhunt lastly dead-ended in all directions, and stays meaning 20 years later.

“The final true piece that now we have is the car,” says Scottsdale Police Detective John Heinzelman.  

He’s been on the case since 2014.  His counterpart on the FBI, Agent Taylor Hannah, took over their case considerably better than a yr prior to now.

“We don’t need him to really feel we’re not on the market in search of him anymore,” Agent Hannah says. “That’s simply not the case.”

What every investigators are working to do now might be revisit all of the issues from their earlier case data.  Does one thing stand out now that may have been uncared for then? Is there any individual that didn’t come forward? Does a witness they talked to years prior to now bear in mind one factor new? To take care of shifting forward, they’ve to return to the beginning.

The Brink of Divorce

“From the surface, this was a really image good household,” explains Agent Hannah.

The Fishers received right here to Scottsdale from California, the place Robert labored as a firefighter, sooner than injuring his once more.  In Arizona, he labored as a surgical tech on the Mayo Clinic.  The entire family was deeply involved in Scottsdale Baptist Church, led by Pastor Gregg Cantelmo.

“Mary was very concerned within the church,” Pastor Cantelmo remembers.  “She served with the kids’s ministry. Her youngsters have been mates with my youngsters.”

He says Robert would go to the lads’s group on Tuesday nights.

“That makes it laborious, too,” he says now.  “You suppose, he was part of the church. He was in my bible examine. He knew higher.”

However what many people didn’t know then was that Pastor Cantelmo was counseling Robert and Mary by a troublesome time of their marriage.

“The problems weren’t something radically totally different than what most individuals undergo sooner or later,” he says.  “I do know 20 years in the past everybody needed to know ‘Did you see one thing?’ What may need been a clue that this may occur?’ By no means may at that time give you something and nonetheless don’t know what would carry these occasions to transpire.”

But, it appeared the couple was on the point of divorce, a precipice police say Robert vowed to avoid after struggling alongside along with his private mom or father’s break up.  A neighbor reported to police he heard the couple arguing the night time time sooner than the explosion.

(*20*) Agent Hannah explains.

However to murder your family members and vanish?

“You would give you 100 causes,” Pastor Cantelmo says.  “However none of them are good. No good reply to the why or the how.”

Or the the place.  Anybody who knew Robert then, knew he was an avid camper and hunter, verse in Arizona’s wilderness.

“He was an out of doors sort of man, an individualist, a survivalist,” Pastor Cantelmo remembers.

He’d moreover been recognized to camp inside the area of the Tonto Nationwide Forest the place Mary’s 4Runner would in the long run be found.  

The Theories

As for whether or not or not he was inside the woods or made it out alive? The theories are infinite.

“One of many prevailing theories is that he’s, he’s a survivalist, he’s on the market dwelling within the woods,” Detective Heinzelman explains.

However consultants say these odds aren’t likely.

“To try this as a person is often a dying card,” says expert survival trainer Cody Lundin.

Lundin has been educating survival talents for 30 years and is conscious of first hand how unbelievable that precept shall be.

For starters investigators say there hasn’t been any sign of any individual dwelling inside the woods.  Lundin explains that every time a person takes a step, they’re leaving a footprint.  It’d be strong to go away no trace within the occasion you’re out inside the woods.

Plus, the native climate up inside the north nation shall be unpredictable and harsh.

“Robert Fisher would have needed to have some type of shelter if he was within the woods in any respect,” he explains.  “It’s excessive mountain nation. He’s going to be coping with snow, hypothermia, dehydration, and so forth.”

Plus, most people on the lam are likely not focused on lunch.

“There’s not plenty of fats to dwell off the land out right here in Arizona,” he tells.

He reveals us a bush that’s starting to flower, nonetheless has no edible berries – on the very least not however.

“That is in regards to the time of yr Robert was out,” he says. “There’s nothing to eat right here but. There shall be in two or three months.”

With out entry to common meals and shelter, this precept is low on the itemizing for investigators

“That’s in my thoughts – it’s somewhat far-fetched,” says Agent Hannah.  “Is it a risk? Possibly. However I feel there are plenty of prospects.”

There’s moreover numerous speculation in regards to the cave system near that part of the forest.  On the time, investigators found footprints ensuing within the mouth of a cave near the place the 4Runner was parked.  Some of us assume he might have used a cave for canopy sooner than escaping the woods.  Others assume he went in a cave to take his private life or someway didn’t make it out alive.

These caves received’t be what you’re pondering.  Investigators say numerous them start making an attempt like holes.  Some dead-end.  Others span out in no clear route, working for miles underground.

“Actually what we’re standing on is honeycombed beneath us,” an investigator instructed a 12 Information crew on the scene in 2001.

Due to their strong terrain, investigators needed to usher in a sewer digital digicam to look nearer and threw in gasoline grenades to attempt to solicit any sign of life.

“There’s a risk he might have fallen into one thing and he might have damage himself or couldn’t get out,” Detective Heinzelman says.

He gives that cave groups have looked for any proof of Fisher through the years with no luck.  His stays, within the occasion that they’re in the marketplace,  have under no circumstances been found.

“If Robert Fisher died within the wilderness and we didn’t discover his physique, so what?,” says Lundin.  “The physique decomposes shortly, the bones are dispersed. Accomplished deal. You’re by no means discovered once more.”

One other thought is that he in the long run left the woods.

As distant because it’s, it’s a quick stroll to Younger Freeway and fewer than a mile from the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

“That’s a sovereign nation,” Detective Heinzelman says. “We’d like approval – we will’t go on the market with out their escort.”

12 Information video from the scene reveals tribal investigators have been initially involved inside the search.  A ranger instructed 12 Information in 2001 that they adopted a set of tracks that led on to the reservation, nonetheless didn’t see any trace of Fisher.

Heinzelman says it’s doable Fisher knew how shut he was to tribal land.

“I don’t suppose it could have been very tough for him to know. If I simply go over that and I maintain simply shifting east, I’ll be some place they’re not going to go test for.”

Preserve in ideas that’s all quite a few months sooner than the assaults on September 11, 2001.

“This was earlier than the TSA, earlier than heightened safety for journey,” Heinzelman says. “The chance for him to journey round, to board an airplane, to drive to Mexico is unquestionably there.”

Early on investigators thought he might have stashed a get-away-car or hitched a visit.  If he was on foot, his canine Blue possibly would have went with him.  However over time, nothing turned up.

“There’s no proof he had any assist,” says Agent Hannah.

As a result of know-how on the time, investigators don’t even have Fisher’s full DNA profile.

“Possibly there are some unidentified stays in one other county that show to be Robert Fisher’s,” Heinzelman says. “Possibly he will get picked up and arrested on one other cost and he has a unique identify.”

And if he’s nonetheless alive in the marketplace, he may combine in.

“Robert Fisher, he doesn’t actually stand out,” says Agent Hannah. “He seems like the common man.”

You possibly can see his FBI Most Wished poster with age-enhancement right here. 

He has a noticeably stiff gait from that firefighting hurt, a scar on his once more and a gold or missing tooth the place thought-about considered one of his bicuspids could be.

“He might be dwelling in a small city, the place he will get paid money and he works as a handyman,” says Heinzelman. “Or he might be in an enormous metropolis and mix in.”

Fisher’s mobile phone shut off the night time time sooner than the explosion.  It’s under no circumstances turned once more on.  And investigators say no one’s touched his checking account since that journey to the ATM.

“He simply vanished,” Heinzelman says.

There have been numerous look-a-likes, like a hostile encounter with vacationers in Guatemala in 2009 or a raid at a Colorado dwelling in 2014.

Police even detained an individual in Canada in 2004.  The person had the similar construct, similar once more scar, similar gap the place a gold tooth is likely to be, nonetheless the fingerprints didn’t match.

Scottsdale police and the FBI nonetheless nonetheless say they get new concepts every week. Nothing’s ever panned out.

‘We haven’t had a verified sighting that we’re in a position to flip once more and say certain this positively was Robert Fisher,” Heinzelman says.  “It’s arduous to imagine that he’s nonetheless alive nonetheless in my ideas I’ve to think about that he’s nonetheless in the marketplace.”

FBI’s Most Wished

Fisher was positioned on the FBI’s Prime Ten Most Wished itemizing in 2002, the place he stays to at the moment.

“There’s plenty of mythology surrounding this case,” Agent Hannah says. “It’s been ongoing for 20 years. Folks have all their pet theories. I needed to verify I actually reduce via that and received to the info and the proof.”

Her subsequent steps are to keep up revisiting the earlier case file besides one factor new is out there in.  She gives that investigators on the case sooner than her had accomplished job.  She would have taken the similar steps they did.

“There wasn’t rather a lot left unturned,” she says. “Now it’s simply sort of revisiting plenty of these issues. See if there’s folks again then that didn’t come ahead, or that we may re-interview.”

The FBI’s latest push to most people was a set of age-enhanced photos of what Fisher might appear as if as we communicate, launched in 2015.  He could be turning 60-years-old.

He’s been the one suspect on this case and there’s an lively warrant out for his arrest.

The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for concepts that lead on to the arrest of Robert Fisher.  He’s nonetheless considered armed and dangerous.

To submit a tip, click on right here.

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