- Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel, considered armed and dangerous, has been on the run for over 5 years and has a $100,000 bounty on his capture.
Fugitive Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel, now 29, who had fatally stabbed his wife, Palak Patel in 2015 at a Maryland Dunkin’ Donuts where they worked together, continues to be on the FBI’s ‘Ten Most Wanted Fugitives’ list.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reminding the public of a $100,000-reward offer for information leading to the capture of Patel, a native of Gujarat, India, who has been listed by the agency as one of the ‘10 Most Wanted’ since 2017.
Although Patel was put on the list in 2017 with the $100,000 reward for information leading to his capture, he still remains at large. On Friday, Nov 27, 2020, the FBI again tweeted information about him and the reward to draw attention to the case and the reward offer.
Patel has been on the run since 2015 when he allegedly killed his wife with a knife inside Dunkin Donuts in Hanover, Maryland, owned by a relative of Patel’s, according to the FBI.
Just before midnight on April 12, 2015, while customers were in the front of the shop, Patel stabbed his wife Palak multiple times in the back of the shop and left by a rear door.
At the time of the murder, both were working the night shift
Patel had been traveling in the U.S. with his 21-year-old wife. Investigators theorize that Palak Patel wanted to return to India—their visas had expired the month before—and her husband was against the idea.
“The best guess is that he didn’t want her to leave,” said Special Agent Jonathan Shaffer, who is investigating the case from the FBI’s Baltimore Division, in an earlier press release. “It’s possible that he thought he would be disgraced by her leaving and going back to India.”
Although the motive remains unclear, and there is no way to know if Patel planned the murder, Shaffer noted that “after the crime, his actions show a very cool and calculated mentality about escaping the scene and fleeing the area.”
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 in a press release.
Patel was last known to have taken a taxi from a hotel in New Jersey to a train station in Newark.
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 Detective Kelly Harding to WTOP, 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.”
Tim Altomare, who was the police chief of Anne Arundel County at that time, told WTOP Radio, “The violence in this case was stark. It was heart-wrenching and it was a shock to our collective conscience on the police department.”
The WTOP reported that investigators think that Patel was still in the U.S. in 2017 when he was put on the FBI list. According to Altomare, investigators believe that someone was knowingly helping Patel or was interacting with him without knowing about his alleged crime.
The radio reported that according to Gordon Johnson, who was the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office in 2017, Patel was put on the list because of the brutality of the crime and the likelihood that someone outside the U.S. knew where he was.
The FBI’s notice says that the accused “should be considered armed and extremely dangerous”.
Investigators believe that Patel could be with distant relatives in the U.S. or that he could have fled to Canada. “Or he could have traveled through Canada back to India,” Shaffer told WTOP Radio. “Those are among the plausible options we are exploring.”
The FBI is asking anyone who knows where he is to contact the agency or the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy.
Anu Ghosh immigrated to the U.S. from India in 1999. Back in India she was a journalist for the Times of India in Pune for 8 years and a graduate from the Symbiosis Institute of Journalism and Communication. In the U.S., she obtained her Masters and PhD. in Communications from The Ohio State University. Go Buckeyes! She has been involved in education for the last 15 years, as a professor at Oglethorpe University and then Georgia State University. She currently teaches Special Education at Oak Grove Elementary. She is also a mom to two precocious girls ages 11 and 6.