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FBI announces $250,000 bounty for arrest of Indian wanted in wife's murder

By Yoshita Singh
April 13, 2024 23:04 IST
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now offering a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to the arrest of a 33-year-old "extremely dangerous" Indian national who is wanted in the US for allegedly killing his wife in 2015.

Image used for representational purpose only. Photograph: Reuters

Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel, who was last known to be in the Newark area of New Jersey, is wanted for allegedly killing his wife Palak Patel by striking her multiple times with an object when they worked at a doughnut shop in Hanover, Maryland.


Patel is on the FBI's list of ‘Ten Most Wanted Fugitives' and the federal agency announced a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to his arrest.

Initially, the FBI had offered a $100,000 reward for information about Patel.

Patel has been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and dangerous weapons with intent to injure, the FBI said in a statement.

A federal arrest warrant was issued in the Maryland district court on April 20, 2015, after Patel was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

According to a 2017 FBI press release, Patel and his wife worked the night shift at the doughnut shop of one of his relatives.

Investigators believe Patel killed his wife, who was 21 at the time, in a back room of the shop just before midnight on April 12, 2015. Patel allegedly stabbed his wife multiple times and fled by a rear door.

The statement warned that Patel should be considered “armed and extremely dangerous".

According to the FBI, investigators theorise 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 was investigating the case from the FBI's Baltimore Division.

“It's possible he thought he would be disgraced by her leaving and returning to India."

Although the motive remains unclear, Shaffer noted that after the crime, Patel's "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 realised something was wrong when no one came to take his order.

He alerted a police department officer who discovered Palak Patel's body. “It was horrific what had been done to this young woman,” Shaffer said.

Realising 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 him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Investigators believe that Patel could be with distant relatives in the US or that he could have fled to Canada.

“Or he could have travelled through Canada back to India,” Shaffer said. “Those are among the plausible options we are exploring,” according to the press release issued in 2017.

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Yoshita Singh in New York
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