Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky’
Well, at least America’s future in Hopkins County, Kentucky has taken some good initiative:
HOPKINS COUNTY, KY – Hopkins County Fiscal Court appointed a committee to raise awareness about the upcoming census, so the Hopkins County Complete County Committee had a 2010 Census Poster Contest. The committee chose a winner from grades 2 through 5. The 2nd grade winner was Alexis Foster -Jesse Stuart Elementary School; 3rd grade winner was Dani Cruz – Jesse Stuart Elementary School; 4th grade winner – Rebecca Potts – Jesse Stuart Elementary School; and 5th grade winner was Brynin Carver from Hanson Elementary School.
All posters received will be on display at the Parkway Plaza Mall between March 15th and April 15th. The four winning posters will be displayed in Frankfort, Kentucky.
Each child was presented a $50.00 savings bond that was donated by the following banks, Old National Bank, First United Bank, Integra Bank and United Southern Bank.
WKYT in Lexington, Ky., has audio from the 911 tape from the day Sparkman’s body was found. At the time, police said Sparkman’s death was a suicide staged to look like a murder, but further details — including the 911 call and that Sparkman had disclosed his plans to a friend — were not released until this week.
Listen to the 911 tape here (it’s about a minute in to the segment).
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Police who investigated the death of an eastern Kentucky census worker found naked, bound and hanging from a tree learned that he told a friend he intended to kill himself and that he had chosen the time, place and method to do it.
Police records about the death of Bill Sparkman were released Friday to The Associated Press.
Sparkman was found near a rural cemetery in September with the word “fed” scrawled on his chest. It triggered a state and federal investigation that ultimately found he had committed suicide.
MyTwoCensus Investigation and Editorial: Skeptical Over Sparkman Outcome Until More Details Are ProvidedWednesday, November 25th, 2009
Since yesterday’s revelation by the Kentucky State Police, FBI, U.S. Forest Service,State Medical Examiner’s Office and the Clay County Coroner’s Office, that the death of Census Bureau employee William E. Sparkman, Jr., “based upon evidence and witness testimony” was “an intentional, self-inflicted act that was staged to appear as a homicide,” many eyebrows have been raised.
Now, insurance fraud is definitely a common occurrence, but to take one’s own life for a small payout is extreme, and cursory searches on Google reveal that this case provides many of the top hits when searching for a suicide that was staged to look like a murder. Thus, this is a very rare occurrance, so these conclusions should be further examined before the door on this case is shut forever.
According to the Associated Press, “Sparkman ‘told a credible witness that he planned to commit suicide and provided details on how and when.’
Authorities wouldn’t say who Sparkman told of his plan, but said Sparkman talked about it a week before his suicide and the person did not take him seriously. He told the person he believed his lymphoma, which he had previously been treated for, had recurred, police said.
Sparkman also had recently taken out two accidental life insurance policies totaling $600,000 that would not pay out for suicide, authorities said. One policy was taken out in late 2008; the other in May.
On November 12, The Huffington Post reported the following:
“If it’s deemed suicide, there’s no point in even looking at insurance,” Josh Sparkman said. “There’s no such thing as suicide insurance. The money is not the concern. I just want to know what happened to my dad.”
Sparkman’s naked body was found Sept. 12 near a family cemetery in a heavily wooded area of southeastern Kentucky. One of the witnesses who found the body said the 51-year-old was bound with duct tape, gagged and had an identification badge taped to his neck. Authorities have confirmed “Fed” was written on his chest likely in pen.
Josh Sparkman, 20, who is unemployed, said he’s convinced his father could not have committed suicide, even though law enforcement officials previously told the AP on condition of anonymity that they are looking closely at that possibility and increasingly doubt he was killed because of his government job.
Yet after yesterday’s announcement, Sparkman’s own mother wrote to the Associated Press, referring to the swift conclusion of the case, “I disagree!”
With so many people worried about a lack of participation in the 2010 Census, federal and state agencies had every reason to end this case quickly and quietly. Until the hard evidence about how Sparkman masterminded his own death is provided, this conclusion should be taken as theory, not a fact. While it is interesting to hear basic details in the AP report (“On Tuesday, authorities for the first time released key details such as Sparkman’s wrists being bound so loosely that he could have done the taping himself. Kentucky State Police Capt. Lisa Rudzinski said an analysis found that the “fed” on his chest was written “from the bottom up.” He was touching the ground almost to his knees, and to survive “all Mr. Sparkman had to do at any time was stand up,” she said.), more evidence that goes beyond circumstantial evidence must be provided to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that no other parties were involved in this heinous act.
An autopsy report on Sparkman’s body is still pending, so we await the result of that investigation, as well as a more comprehensive report from the federal and state agencies responsible for overseeing this case.
The following is the Kentucky State Police Report on Census Bureau employee Bill Sparkman’s death:
The Kentucky State Police Post 11 in London, with the assistance of the FBI, the U.S. Forest Service, the State Medical Examiner’s Office and the Clay County Coroner’s Office, has concluded the investigation into the death of William E. Sparkman, Jr. The investigation, based upon evidence and witness testimony, has concluded that Mr. Sparkman died during an intentional, self-inflicted act that was staged to appear as a homicide.
While all the details of the investigation will not be released at this time, the unusual level of attention and speculation attributed to Mr. Sparkman’s death necessitates this release of information. The investigation indicates that Mr. Sparkman died of asphyxiation/strangulation at the same location where he was discovered in Clay County, Ky. Despite the fact that Mr. Sparkman was found hands, feet and mouth bound with duct tape, rope around his neck and the word “FED” written on his chest, analysis of the evidence determined Mr. Sparkman’s death was self-inflicted.
A thorough examination of evidence from the scene, to include DNA testing, as well as examination of his vehicle and his residence resulted in the determination that Mr. Sparkman, alone, handled the key pieces of evidence with no indications of any other persons involved. Witness statements, which are deemed credible, indicate Mr. Sparkman discussed ending his own life and these discussions matched details discovered during the course of the investigation.
It was learned that Mr. Sparkman had discussed recent federal investigations and the perceived negative attitudes toward federal entities by some residents of Clay County. It was also discovered during the investigation that Mr. Sparkman had recently secured two life insurance policies for which payment for suicide was precluded.
All tips and leads, including those from the public, were thoroughly investigated but were found to be inconsistent with any known facts or evidence. It is the conclusion of the Kentucky State Police, the FBI, the U.S. Forest Service, the State Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Clay County Coroner’s Office that Mr. Sparkman died in an intentional, self-inflicted act that was staged to appear as a homicide.
This just in from CNN…(MyTwoCensus.com will publish an editorial about this finding tomorrow morning):
(CNN) — A Kentucky census worker who was found dead in September committed suicide and staged the scene to look like a homicide, authorities said Tuesday.
The body of William E. Sparkman Jr., 51, was found September 12 near a cemetery in southeastern Kentucky’s Clay County.
He had a rope around his neck that was tied to a tree, but his body was touching the ground, authorities said. He had “Fed” written on his chest in black ink, Kentucky State Police said Tuesday, but forensic analysis showed he wrote it himself with a felt pen.
“Analysis of the evidence determined Mr. Sparkman’s death was self-inflicted,” police said in a statement.
“A thorough examination of evidence from the scene, to include DNA testing, as well as examination of his vehicle and his residence resulted in the determination that Mr. Sparkman, alone, handled the key pieces of evidence with no indications of any other persons involved.”
The Associated Press has obtained some additional details on this case that are featured below. However, many questions still need to be answered in this case. Though this area of rural Kentucky is rife with meth-addicts and a rampant drug culture, was Sparkman actually the victim of an anti-government crusader? Was this act committed by a single person or a group of individuals?
Again, where were Sparkman’s superiors? Why did a family visiting a cemetery first encounter this body rather than Sparkman’s fellow Census Bureau employees? What data was left behind in Sparkman’s computer?
H/t to Roger Alford and Jeffrey McMurray of the AP for the following:
Family cemetery visit led to hanged census worker
Frequently Asked Questions on Death of William E. Sparkman, Jr.
Statement from Census Bureau Director Bob Groves:
“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of our co-worker, William Sparkman. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Sparkman’s family and friends. We are monitoring the developments closely.
“The work of everyone in the Census Bureau depends on the success of our field representatives. They are the front line of the work we do. Mr. Sparkman was a shining example of the hard-working men and women the Census Bureau has in the field. The work they do on a daily basis is not easy but is a great and important service to our nation.”
Q: What can you tell us about the investigation or the circumstances of Mr. Sparkman’s death?
- A: The extent of information we have about the investigation is that the FBI is currently gathering evidence to determine whether this death was the result of foul play. Any other questions related to the investigation or the circumstances surrounding Mr. Sparkman’s death should be directed to:
- Kyle Edelen
- Kentucky U.S. Attorney’s Office
Q: When did the Census Bureau learn of Mr. Sparkman’s death?
- A: After the Census Bureau was informed of this tragedy by the FBI on September 12, Census Bureau Director Bob Groves and local regional director Wayne Hatcher flew to Kentucky to meet with law enforcement officials and the family of Mr. Sparkman to convey our condolences and to offer any assistance they could. They also met with other Census Bureau field representatives in the area to share our grief, to thank them for their service, and to advise them to seek any counseling that they might wish to have.
Q: Are you worried about the safety of other Census Bureau staff?
- A: We have no information that this tragedy was related Mr. Sparkman’s work with the Census Bureau. Over the past decade Census employees have maintained a high level of safety on the job.
- Employees learn that safety is of the utmost importance from their first day on the job, when they receive intensive training on steps they can take to protect themselves in a variety of settings. All employees receive ongoing reminders to take safety precautions when they are in the field. That practice will continue. Violence against Census Bureau employees is extremely rare.
Q: How many people are going door to door in the field?
A: We have an ongoing workforce of approximately 5,900 field representatives who conduct the American Community Survey and other surveys the Census Bureau conducts throughout the year and throughout the decade. In the spring of 2010 we will have nearly 700,000 temporary workers in the field conducting follow-up on the 2010 Census.
As was reported here and across the news media yesterday by the Associated Press, Bill Sparkman, a Census Bureau field worker in Kentucky, was murdered on September 12 with the word “fed” scrawled into his chest. Unfortunately, the MyTwoCensus team can’t be in rural Kentucky at this time to investigate this matter on the ground, but that doesn’t mean that we are not using all available resources to determine what happened.
10 Questions that MyTwoCensus Hopes To Answer ASAP
10. If Bill Sparkman’s body was found on September 12, why did it take 11 days for this story to come to the media’s attention?
9. Why was it the Associated Press that broke the story rather than local news sources? (Did the police and FBI fail to report this incident to the press?)
8. Why was Bill Sparkman working alone?
7. If the Harris Corp. Handheld Computers (HHCs) functioned properly, is there a GPS record of his last known wherabouts? (Is it possible to mine data from Bill Sparkman’s handheld computer and the Census Bureau’s data network to determine Mr. Sparkman’s duties on the day he was murdered?)
6. Noting that this incident took place in a rural area, would such an incident have occurred if Sprint, the network that the Census Bureau contracted to handle telecommunications, functioned properly in rural areas, allowing Bill Sparkman to call for help when he was in trouble?
5. How did Sparkman’s body make its way to the forest? If his vehicle was nearby at the time of his death, why couldn’t he escape?
4. Where were Mr. Sparkman’s supervisors when he didn’t complete his tasks on time?
3. Did the Kentucky State Police and FBI fail to properly investigate this incident?
2. Is there a violent movement brewing in America against Census Bureau employees or was this an isolated incident? (Were any threats made against Census Bureau employees prior to this incident? If so, were ALL EMPLOYEES warned of possible dangers?)
1. Who committed this horrific act?
Today, the Louisville Courier-Journal provided some updates on the story that could be of interest:
Police said the area has a history of drug trouble, including methamphetamine trafficking and marijuana growing in its forested valleys between steep hills and ridges.
“That part of the county, it has its ups and downs. We’ll get a lot of complaints of drug activity,” said Manchester Police Chief Jeff Culver.
He added that officers last month rounded up 40 drug suspects, mostly dealers, and made several more arrests in subsequent days.
Dee Davis, president of the Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg, said Clay County is impoverished and has a “pretty wild history of a black market economy, a drug economy.”
Hat tips to the many readers who alerted us to the following story (Please note that we are independently investigating this incident!):
(09-23) 20:45 PDT Manchester, Ky. (AP) –
A U.S. Census worker found hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery had the word “fed” scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.
Barrett reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Roger Alford in Frankfort, Ky., Hope Yen in Washington and Dylan T. Lovan in Louisville contributed to this report.