A Durham, NC, man died in April after being found with a dog leash wrapped around his neck—and the dog still attached to it—and now his death has been ruled a homicide. William "Bill" Bishop's 16-year-old son found him unconscious and slouched in a chair in the basement of their home, holding the leash, which was wrapped around his neck three times; he died three days later of anoxic encephalopathy, or oxygen deprivation to the brain, due to strangulation, the Herald Sun reports. According to the medical examiner's report the teen, one of Bishop's two sons, told first responders Bishop was abusive to him and his mother, whose divorce from Bishop had been finalized less than two weeks before, and said, "I feel weird because I don’t feel bad he might die." Bishop's ex had alleged incidents of "rage" from her husband in 2010, but in 2017 he was granted permanent and sole custody of their sons after she moved to Florida and sought treatment for alcohol addiction and other issues.
In search warrant applications, a Durham police Investigator outlined what he called "suspicious" circumstances surrounding the death, and noted that the son told a firefighter he felt relieved his father was gone: "[The son] explained that there had never been anything physical to occur, just constant verbal abuse over minor things like dishes being left in the sink and homework not being completed," one application says. "[He] also told officers that he would be extremely fearful for what his father would do if he survived." Searches of the teen's phone showed that he called his mother five times before calling 911 about his father, and that he had searched for financial information including how to transfer bank accounts after a death. The son told police Bishop was having issues with his new girlfriend but that he didn't think the man would have harmed himself, but in another article delving into the case, the girlfriend tells the Herald Sun she loved him and misses him "terribly," and his friends recall a kind man and a good father. (Read more homicide stories.)