An immigrant from India who was last seen over five years ago at Pennsylvania Station in Newark, New Jersey, has the dubious distinction of being the 514th person to make the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
In the five years since he was accused of murdering his wife, Palak Patel, on April 12, 2015, Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel has eluded capture, remains on the run, and has a $100,000 reward on his head for information leading to this arrest.
Patel is suspected of killing his wife at a Dunkin’ Donuts store in Hanover, Maryland, where the couple both worked the night shift. The store was owned by a relative that the couple was visiting.
Surveillance footage showed Palak and Patel walking together in the kitchen at around 9:30 p.m. before disappearing out of view behind some racks. Moments later, Patel re-emerged without his wife, turned off an oven, and left the store.
He was added to the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on April 18, 2017. Patel was the 514th fugitive to be placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. He was last seen at Pennsylvania Station near his hotel in Newark, New Jersey.
Investigators believe Patel killed Palak, who was 21 at the time, by stabbing multiple times in a back room just before midnight on April 12, 2015, and then he fled the scene.
Police believe Patel is responsible for the gruesome death of his wife, who was struck in the face with a large kitchen knife.
“Both she and Bhedreshkumar were from the area outside of Mumbai, India,” said Anne Arundel County Police Corporal Jacklyn Davis. “They came here on a honeymoon visa. They were supposed to leave that same month but did not.”
After leaving the donut shop, Patel walked across the street to the apartment he shared with his wife, retrieved a few items and some cash, and then hailed a taxi.
The cab driver said she picked up Patel soon after the murder and drove him to a Best Western hotel in New Jersey, close to Newark International Airport.
He checked in about 3 a.m. with no bags, just the clothes on his back. He checked out around 10 a.m., and took a hotel shuttle to Newark Penn Station.
That’s the last anyone has seen of him.
Patel was born in Kantrodi village in Viramgam, Gujarat. He married Palak in 2013 in what was an arranged marriage. Prior to her murder, Palak had reportedly told her parents she wanted to return to India, amid a strained relationship with her husband.
“The extremely violent nature of the crimes allegedly committed by Bhadreshkumar Patel earned him a place on the FBI’s Top Ten List,” said Baltimore FBI Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson. “The valuable assistance of the public cannot be overstated, as shown by the ongoing success locating fugitives placed on the Top Ten list. The ongoing efforts of our investigators, coupled with the public’s assistance, will lead to the capture of Bhadreshkumar Patel. We will never forget and will not rest until he is located, captured, and brought to justice.”
A local arrest warrant was issued in Anne Arundel County, Maryland on April 13, 2014, and Patel was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and using a dangerous weapon with intent to injure.
A federal arrest warrant was issued in the United States District Court, District of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, on April 20, 2015, after Patel was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Authorities have requested the help of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in case Bhadreshkumar has fled the United States to any of the global law enforcement agency’s 195 member countries.
Investigators theorize that Palak Patel wanted to return to India—their visas had expired the month before—and her husband was against the idea. Investigators also believe that Patel could be with distant relatives in the U.S. or that he could have fled to Canada to return to India. Patel has ties to New Jersey, Kentucky, Georgia, Illinois, and India.
“Palak Patel was murdered in a depraved act of domestic violence,” said Anne Arundel County Police Chief Tim Altomare. “Numerous and overwhelming efforts have been made in attempts to locate Bhadreshkumar and none of the efforts to date have been met with success.”
The FBI advises that anyone with information that could lead to his arrest (or the arrest of anyone on the Most Wanted list) call 1-800-CALL-FBI.