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April 20, 2017

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Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel, a native of India, had been traveling in the U.S. with his 21-year-old wife. At the time of the murder, both were working the night shift at a donut shop in Hanover, Maryland, owned by a relative of Patel’s.

Just before midnight on April 12, 2015, while customers were in the front of the shop, Patel stabbed his wife, Palak Patel, multiple times in the back of the shop and left by a rear door.

(Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel, wanted for the April 2015 murder of his wife in Maryland, has been named to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. Courtesy of FBI and YouTube)

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Investigators theorize that Palak Patel wanted to return to India—their visas had expired the month before, and her husband was against the idea.

Palak Patel pictured here with Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel
Palak Patel pictured here with Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel

“The best guess is that he didn’t want her to leave,” said Special Agent Jonathan Shaffer, who is investigating the case from the FBI’s Baltimore Division.

“It’s possible that he thought he would be disgraced by her leaving and going back to India.”

Although the motive remains unclear, and there is no way to know if Patel planned the murder, Shaffer noted that “after the crime, his 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 realized something was wrong when no one came to take his order. He alerted a nearby Anne Arundel County Police Department officer, who discovered Palak Patel’s body.

“It was horrific what had been done to this young woman,” Shaffer said.

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