Posted by Audiegrl
TPMMuckraker/Zachary Roth—Bill Sparkman, the Census worker found dead in Kentucky recently was not found hanging from a tree, according to an FBI spokesman. Rather, David Beyer told TPMmuckraker, Sparkman’s feet were planted on the ground. A rope around Sparkman’s neck was attached to a tree.
An anonymously sourced AP report said that Sparkman was hanging from a tree, and that he had the word “Fed” scrawled on his chest.
Beyer, a spokesman with the FBI’s Louisville, Kentucky filed office, declined to comment on the accuracy of the “Fed” detail. But he was at pains to ratchet back speculation that Sparkman was killed in an act of anti-government sentiment, saying that investigators had not yet determined even whether the death was a homicide.
Previous reporting “left the impression that [Sparkman] was found strung up in a tree because he was a federal employee,” Beyer said. “At this juncture that’s not accurate.” Beyer added that Sparkman died of asphyxiation.
***Update from TPM: The local coroner has confirmed that the word “Fed” had been written on Bill Sparkman’s chest when he was found dead earlier this month.
Jim Trosper, the Clay County coroner, confirmed the information to TPMmuckraker moments ago, adding that the word appeared to have been written in felt tip marker. He declined to give additional details.
***New AP Update: Witness: Census worker’s hanging body naked, bound
Jerry Weaver of Fairfield, Ohio, told The Associated Press on Friday that he was among a group of relatives who discovered the body of 51-year-old Bill Sparkman on Sept. 12.
“The only thing he had on was a pair of socks,” Weaver said. “And they had duct-taped his hands, his wrists. He had duct tape over his eyes, and they gagged him with a red rag or something.
“And they even had duct tape around his neck. And they had like his identification tag on his neck. They had it duct-taped to the side of his neck, on the right side, almost on his right shoulder.”
Weaver said he couldn’t tell if the tag was a Census Bureau I.D. He said he didn’t get close enough to read it.