Robert Fisher: One of the FBI’s Most Wanted Murderers

Imagine a man accused of one of the most heinous crimes possible–the murder of his wife and two children. A monster like this must be brought to justice, but what happens if that’s not possible? How can a man simply disappear, never to be found, after causing his own home to explode? 

Where is Robert Fisher?

Robert William Fisher tried to portray himself as a faithful family man to those around him. Still, the cracks in his personal life and relationships started to show long before he caused an inferno that would change his quiet neighborhood in Scottsdale, Arizona forever. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the tragic, mysterious life of family annihilator Robert Fisher, what happened to his family, and how the manhunt for him eventually failed. 

Robert William Fisher-FBI Ten Most-Wanted Fugitive Poster

Who Is Robert Fisher and What Did He Do?

Early Life

Robert William Fisher started his life out in a family that would eerily resemble the one he would make for himself as an adult. He was born on April 13, 1961, to his mother Jan Howell, and father William Fisher. 

His parents divorced years later in 1976 when Robert was a teenager. This split rocked Robert to the core. He and his siblings would go on to live with his father in Arizona, and the trauma of his parent’s divorce would echo into his adulthood. 

Before the Murders

As an adult, Rober Fisher had a brief time when it looked like everything might stabilize for the young man. He joined the Armed Forces, specifically the Navy, in hopes of becoming a Navy Seal. This dream never panned out for Fisher, and he changed his career to firefighting in the state of California. 

Working as a firefighter, Robert would injure his back severely and would live with the pain for the rest of his life. When this injury forced him to retire from firefighting, Robert Fisher moved on to work in the medical field as a respiratory therapist and catheter technician. 

Despite his back injury, Robert loved the outdoors. Hunting and fishing were specifically interesting to Fisher, but it was during hunts that his friends began to notice some troubling behavior.

Instead of hunting for sport or food, there seemed to be a sadistic edge to Robert’s hunting. Friends recall him smearing the blood of an elk he had dispatched on his face and shooting his gun in the air dangerously close to a picking family with the sole purpose of scaring them.

These disturbing behaviors would bleed over into his personal life too, especially his marriage.

He met his wife Mary Cooper and married her in 1987. Neighbors could hear the couple fighting constantly, and friends of Mary would notice how controlling Fisher really was to his wife.

They had two children together–Brittney Fisher and Robert William Fisher II, who went by Bobby. The kids weren’t spared from Robert’s weird, sometimes borderline-violent behavior.

The Fisher Family. Scottsdale Police Department

One particular incident that was described by a hunting partner of Robert’s involved him throwing his children off the side of his boat in an effort to teach them how to swim. The children panicked, screaming until Fisher hauled them back on board.

Fisher also spoke about his unsettling family life to other members of the church and coworkers, mentioning suicide and an unwillingness to live without his family. In hindsight, all of these alarming confessions were the writing on the wall for what would come next.

Even then, the way Robert Fisher would finally snap was horrific beyond what anyone he knew would have ever considered. 

The Crimes of Robert Fisher

On April 10, 2001, at 8:24 am, the Fisher family home in Scottsdale, Arizona, exploded with such force that it damaged neighboring homes, breaking down brick walls and shaking houses more than half a mile away. 

The house was a wall of flames, and before firefighters arrived. Other neighborhood residents did the best they could to hold the fire back from their own homes with water hoses. The flames climbed to 20 feet in height.

Once firefighters arrived, they were able to subdue the fire enough to keep it from spreading, despite numerous smaller explosions occurring within the home throughout the battle with the blaze. 

After the fire was finally out, police entered the burned-out home to discover something even more distressing than the fire and explosion. In a bed were three bodies–Mary, Bobby, and Brittany.

The children’s throats had been cut, while Mary had been shot in the back of the head. Robert Fisher was nowhere to be found.

Fisher was considered the immediate suspect for the murders and explosions. Arson investigators determined that the gas line from the home’s furnace had been pulled, and the source of the explosion was a candle that had been lit hours before.

The gas from the line filled the home, eventually reaching the candle, which ignited it. 

The burned remains of the Fisher home, 2001. Scottsdale Police Department

The Manhunt for Robert Fisher

Besides Robert himself, two other things were missing from the family’s home–Mary’s Toyota 4Runner and the family dog, Blue. 

Ten days after the explosion, the Toyota, with Blue cowering underneath, was found 100 miles from Scottsdale in Tonto National Forest. Still, there was no sign of Robert.

Somehow, despite intensive police investigation of both the home, the National Forest, and everywhere in between, Robert William Fisher had managed to escape. 

A warrant was issued for Robert charging him with three counts of first-degree murder and a single count of arson. There have been hundreds of possible sightings over the years, but none of them have led to any real evidence of Robert’s whereabouts.

Has Robert William Fisher Been Found?

Robert William Fisher has never been found, despite decades of searching by the FBI and local police. He was last spotted on an ATM camera the day before the explosion on April 9 with the Toyota 4Runner in the background.

There are a few theories about what might have happened to Robert Fisher, including–

  • Escape to a remote location: In the forest where the 4Runner was found, there were numerous entrances to a cave system that spread out for miles. Robert could have hidden in these caves before escaping across the border to Mexico or somewhere else to live under a fake name.
  • New identity: In 2001, social media, smartphones, and the internet were much less prevalent, making it easier to disappear. It’s possible Robert Fisher moved elsewhere and found jobs working for cash under an assumed identity. 
  • Forest survival: Since Robert Fisher was an experienced outdoorsman and hunter, it’s possible that he managed to live off the grid for some time after the murders. 

While all of these possibilities hold merit, the answer that seems most likely based on things Robert had said in the past and the way he vanished is that Robert William Fisher committed suicide. 

After all these years, the idea that Fisher killed himself is unsatisfying to many who wanted so badly to see him face justice.

Is Robert Fisher Still on the FBI Most Wanted List?

Robert Fisher was taken off the FBI Top 10 Most Wanted List in November of 2021, but he remains on the general FBI Most Wanted List, sitting at number 475.

The FBI reasons that, after more than 20 years of no real leads despite the publicity, there is no longer any reason for Fisher to be on the Top 10 List.


“Why Arizona fugitive Robert Fisher was removed from FBI Ten Most Wanted list”- Anne Ryman

“475. Robert William Fisher”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top