Bradley Stone, the 35-year-old Marine Corps veteran who is now a wanted fugitive in connection with the ruthless murders of his wife and five of her family members early Monday morning, was recalled by fellow Marines who served with him as an odd person who appeared highly stressed out about his marriage.
A manhunt for Stone got underway early Monday morning and into Monday night as Stone continued to elude police in Pennsylvania's Montgomery and Bucks Counties. A person strongly resembling Stone and brandishing a knife attempted to rob car keys from a man in Doylestown on Monday evening.
But the victim was carrying a licensed gun and fired at the would-be robber, as the carjacker who authorities believe may have been Stone fled into a wooded area.
Shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, police in the Doylsetown area called off their search for Stone. Philadelphia's WPVI TV reported that police now believe the carjacking attempt may never have occurred and that, as a source told the station, "a lot of resources were wasted" chasing down what now seems like a phony tip.
Doylestown police said that the carjacker was not "positively identified" as Stone, and that they believed there was no "public threat." Nonetheless, they urged residents to remain in their homes while Stone was still at large.
Stone was an Artillery Meteorological Man in the Marines, meaning that he assessed wind a weather conditions, to assist in aiming artillery shells. He served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2008, but had to cut the deployment short when his wife, Nicole Hill Stone — who was shot to death by Stone on Monday — experienced unspecified health issues, according to a report from Philadelphia's NBC 10 News.
Stone and Hill had a relationship that neighbors and friends described as troubled and turbulent. One former Marine who spoke often with Stone when he returned from Iraq said that Stone was not shy in discussing his problems with his wife — problems that wee causing Stone serious financial problems as well.
"He would openly talk about it," the Marine, who did not want his name used, told the TV station. "He always talking about how she was crazy and they were going through divorce at that time. He was so defeated at that time. He was broke. A lot of his money is going toward that."Stone served in the 3rd Battallion 14th Marine Regiment based in Philly. Another Marine in the regiment, who gave his name only as "Joe," said that Stone generally kept to himself.
"He was a younger Marine and very quiet and quite frankly a little odd," Stone's fellow Marine said. "The common theme was always that he was little out there."Stone was reportedly treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, but his fellow Marines were skeptical that he really had PTSD, saying that had little if any combat experience and was in Iraq for only two months.
"I don't think he necessarily had PTSD," a friend of Pennsylvania shootings suspect Bradley Stone, and former a Marine, Adam Perone, told NBC 10. "It affects everyone differently, though."