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William Fischer – A man murders his son

Wanted: William Peter Fischer

Wanted: William Peter Fischer

In 1986, 21-year old Nancy Hyer and 19-year old Billy Fischer met by chance in South Hampton, New York. Their friendship began when Nancy became hopelessly lost on a train and was on the verge of tears. Billy stepped forward and offered to help, escorting Nancy home to Hicksville, Long Island. Debra McCabe remembered her sister’s friendship with Billy:

“Nancy thought Billy was a really nice guy. She did say to me, ‘He started to look at me like a girlfriend. And I don’t like him that way.’   But she didn’t want to hurt his feelings because he was so nice.”

On a stormy night three weeks after they met, Nancy received a call from Billy. Nancy told her sister, Debra, that Billy needed a ride home from his father’s house in South Hampton, about 65 miles away:

“I said, ‘I can’t believe you’re going to drive in this weather. You don’t even like to drive at night.’ And she told me, ‘Well, he’s done so much for me that I’m going to go.’”

Nancy’s mother, Joan Hyer, was also concerned:

“As I saw my daughter drive away, I was a little fearful. Just a mother’s worry. That’s enough.”

When Nancy met Billy, he was deeply in debt and seriously ill with cystic fibrosis. Billy hadn’t spoken with his father in over a year, but he decided to ask him for help.   According to New York State Police senior investigator Stephen J. Oates, Billy’s father, William Fischer, made a good living:

“He was employed by a well-to-do car dealership in Manhattan and making a very high salary. However, the investigation determined that he began using cocaine extensively to the point that it affected his performance at his place of employment.”

Nancy Hyer and Billy Fischer

Nancy Hyer and Billy Fischer

Billy’s father invited his son to visit for the weekend to discuss his money problems. The day after Billy arrived, he called Nancy and asked for a ride home. That night, Nancy’s mother waited anxiously for her return:

“The clock was going, twelve o’clock, one o’clock, two o’clock.   She might have had to stay over because of the weather or the time of night. But then I was still hesitant because she would never not call me.”

The next morning, when Nancy still had not come home, Joan and Debra began to panic.   But the police couldn’t help because, technically, Nancy had not been gone long enough to be officially declared missing. They searched Nancy’s bedroom and found William Fischer’s phone number. Fischer told Joan that he had dinner with Nancy and his son, and that afterwards, the two left in Nancy’s car. Nancy’s sister, Debra initially believed him:

“He seemed very forthcoming and he was concerned about his own son. We were thinking at that point that young Billy had taken her somewhere and done something.”

The next morning, when there was still no word from Nancy, Joan filed a missing person’s report. But with no proof of foul play, police were unable to help. Joan had nowhere to turn. So she called the last person who saw her daughter alive, William Fischer. Her suspicions grew when he became confrontational during the call:

“He flew off the handle and told me, ‘Let the police handle this. I have no idea where these kids went.’ And he became very, very hostile over the phone.”

Ten days after Nancy disappeared, police responded to a report of an abandoned car in a parking lot less than two miles from Fischer’s house.   Investigator Stephen Oates was first on the scene:

“Located in the trunk of the car was young Billy Fisher. A second body was located underneath him and that was young Nancy. The autopsy reported that Billy had been shot 18 times. The vast majority of those rounds were in the head at close range. Nancy’s autopsy revealed that she had been stabbed twice with a very long, sharp instrument.”

Around that same time, police received reports from neighbors that Fischer had been re-modeling his master bedroom in the middle of the night. Police secured a search warrant. Slight indentations were observed on a section of the wall and it was removed. Two .22 caliber bullets were recovered.   A single strand of hair was fused to one of the bullets. It was identified as Billy Fischer’s. Investigator Oates:

“That established the crime scene. Additional testing established that there was a large amount of blood, splattered all about the hallway. This was consistent with Nancy being stabbed in that area immediately outside the master bedroom.”

The evidence pointed directly to William Fischer. What could have driven him to shoot his son eighteen times and then murder a complete stranger?

Before a murder warrant could be issued, Fischer collected more than one hundred thousand dollars by mortgaging his house, and then disappeared.   His car was found at JFK airport.   Fischer has been on New York’s “most wanted” list for more than 30 years.