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Where Is Robert Fisher? Search Continues for Arizona Man Who Disappeared After He Allegedly Killed His Entire Family 20 Years Ago

The husband and father allegedly murdered his entire family because he was scared that his wife might divorce him.
Cover Image Source: Youtube/ABC15 Arizona
Cover Image Source: Youtube/ABC15 Arizona

A man allegedly killed his entire family 23 years ago in Arizona, and then disappeared into thin air, police said. He then spent decades on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

Robert William Fisher is accused of murdering his family and then blowing up the house they lived in, according to the FBI.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Elti Meshau
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Elti Meshau

Robert Fisher's wife, Mary Fisher, and their two children were found with their throats slashed inside their burnt-down house, ATI reported. Robert Fisher was missing from the scene.

Authorities uncovered several clues but could not tell what exactly happened to him.

On April 9, 2001, at 10.43 p.m., a camera captured Robert Fisher withdrawing $280 from an ATM, half a mile from his house, ATI reported. The couple's neighbors reportedly had heard them fight that night from 9:30 p.m. until around 10.15 p.m. 

The following day, April 10, at around  8:30 a.m., the couple's home in Scottsdale exploded. Firefighters were informed of the incident and rushed to the scene.

They found Mary Fisher and the couple's children, Brittney Fisher, 13, and Bobby Fisher, 10, lying on a bed with no pulse in their bodies. Officials then determined Robert Fisher was missing.


On further examination, firefighters noted that the woman and the kids had their throats slashed, ATI reported. Mary Fisher also had a gunshot wound at the back of her head. The children's injuries were so deep that they were nearly decapitated, according to the FBI.

Investigators concluded that someone had severed the gas line in the house and poured a flammable liquid all through the premises, including on the bodies of Mary Fisher and her children, ATI reported. The authorities suspected that a candle had been lit to facilitate the explosion.

Ten days after the explosion, Mary Fisher's vehicle, a Toyota 4Runner was found abandoned in a remote forest near Payson, Arizona, along with the family dog, ATI reported. Robert Fisher was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

At the time of the deaths, Robert Fisher worked as a respiratory therapist and a cardiovascular technician. Though he strived to maintain the image of a God-fearing family man in public, his friends had noted his cruel streak behind closed doors, ATI reported.

Robert Fisher was reportedly afraid of divorce because of the emotional scars his parents' separation caused him, ATI reported.  He confessed in 1998 that he had an affair. The couple got into a fight but resurrected their relationship.

FBI Agent Taylor Hanna claims that sometime before the murder, rumors swirled that Robert Fisher was again involved in another affair, Fox reported. His wife, however, reportedly was unwilling to forgive and forget and was getting ready to divorce him. 


Investigators have since theorized about what might have transpired with Robert Fisher, ABC 15 Arizona reported.

Scottsdale Police Detective John Heinzelman believes Robert Fisher committed the murders because he suspected Mary Fisher would leave him. By burning the house he might have wanted to fake his death or remove the evidence, Heinzelman added. 

"He knew that the bodies were going to be found," Heinzelman explained, ABC15 Arizona reported. "Maybe in his thought, if the entire house is incinerated, maybe it’s believed that he perished in the fire along with his family. Maybe it’s purely an evidence eradication."

The detective believes Robert Fisher must have driven to the woods. Though Heinzelman doesn't reject the possibility of suicide, in his opinion, if that had been the case, the family dog would have stayed with the body. 

Another possibility that Heinzelman points out is that the missing father traveled to the Apache Indian Reservation, ABC15 Arizona reported. The Apache Indian Reservation "is a sovereign nation that we don’t travel onto," Heinzelman noted. 

Robert Fisher's sister, Jean Rountree, still has trouble believing that her brother could murder his own family, The Arizona Republic reported. She is hopeful that someday the accusations against her brother will be proven false.

"Just because someone doesn’t want a divorce in their life doesn’t mean they are going to kill people because of it," Rountree said.

For 20 years, Robert Fisher was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, The Arizona Republic reported. He was removed in 2021. The FBI Phoenix Field Office stated that the fugitive no longer fulfills the criteria required to be on the list. 

One condition for inclusion is that the publicity must help solve the case. "Because the extensive publicity Fisher’s case received during its nearly 20 years on the list has not resulted in his successful location and/or capture, the case no longer fulfills that requirement," the FBI said in a statement. 

The investigation has not been paused, The Arizona Republic reported. "We’re still looking for him, no different than before," Heinzelman said.

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