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***Breaking–Kentucky Census Worker Bill Sparkman Killed Himself, Police Say

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In this undated 2008 photo, Bill Sparkman speaks to a 7th grade class during a lesson about sound waves.

AP—A Kentucky census worker found naked, bound with duct tape and hanging from a tree with “fed” scrawled on his chest killed himself but staged his death to make it look like a homicide, authorities said Tuesday.

Bill Sparkman, 51, was found Sept. 12 with a rope around his neck near a cemetery in a heavily wooded area of the Daniel Boone National Forest in southeastern Kentucky. Authorities said his wrists were loosely bound, his glasses were taped to his head and he was gagged.

Kentucky State Police Capt. Lisa Rudzinski said an analysis found that “fed” was written “from the bottom up.” He was touching the ground, and to survive “all Mr. Sparkman had to do at any time was stand up,” she said.

Our investigation, based on evidence and witness testimony, has concluded that Mr. Sparkman died during an intentional, self-inflicted act that was staged to appear as a homicide,” Rudzinski said.

Authorities said Sparkman alone manipulated the suicide scene. Rudzinski said he “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.

Friends and co-workers have said that even while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, Sparkman would show up for work smiling with a toboggan cap to cover his balding head. They said he was punctual and dependable.

$600,000 in life insurance
Sparkman had recently taken out two accidental life insurance policies totaling $600,000 that would not pay out for suicide, authorities said. If Sparkman had been killed on the job, his family also would have been be eligible for up to $10,000 in death gratuity payments from the government.

Sparkman’s son, Josh, previously told The Associated Press that his father had named him as his life insurance beneficiary. Josh Sparkman said earlier this month he found paperwork for the private life insurance policy among his father’s personal files but wasn’t sure of the amount.

The Census Bureau suspended door-to-door interviews in the rural area after Sparkman’s body was found, but a spokesman said normal operations would resume in Clay County next month.

Anti-government sentiment was initially one possibility in the death. Authorities said Sparkman had discussed perceived negative views of the federal government in the county.

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Filed under Agencies, Cancer, Census Bureau, Crime, Government, Kentucky, Law, Police, Politics, Teachers, Uncategorized, United States

Insurance Probed in Census Taker Bill Sparkman’s Death

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MANCHESTER-KY-largeAP/Jeffrey McMurray & Devlin Barrett— A census taker found hanging from a tree had named his son as his life insurance beneficiary, and investigators are looking into whether the father manipulated the death scene to make a claim possible, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press Thursday.

In an interview with AP, Josh Sparkman said he found paperwork for the private life insurance policy among his father’s personal files but wasn’t sure of the amount or when it was taken out. He said authorities have told him nothing about the case or produced a death certificate, which is usually needed to make an insurance claim.

Two law enforcement sources, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the case, said investigators are trying to determine if Bill Sparkman committed suicide but altered the scene to make it look like a homicide, allowing his son to collect. Life insurance policies typically do not cover suicides within a certain period of time after the policy starts.

Josh Sparkman said he is convinced his father was slain, in part because there were several items missing and apparently stolen from his car.

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.

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Bill Sparkman, Kentucky Census Worker, May Have Committed Suicide

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Census Worker Hanged bill sparkman

In this undated 2008 photo, Bill Sparkman speaks to a 7th grade class during a lesson about sound waves.

AP/Devlin Barrett and Jeffrey McMurray—Investigators probing the death of a Kentucky census worker found hanging from a tree with the word “fed” scrawled on his chest increasingly doubt he was killed because of his government job and are pursuing the possibility he committed suicide, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case, said no final conclusions have been made in the case. In recent weeks, however, investigators have grown more skeptical that 51-year-old Bill Sparkman died at the hands of someone angry at the federal government.

The officials said investigators continue to look closely at suicide as a possible cause of Sparkman’s death for a number of reasons. There were no defensive wounds on Sparkman’s body, and while his hands were bound with duct-tape, they were still somewhat mobile, suggesting he could have manipulated the rope, the officials said.

Sparkman’s naked body was found Sept. 12 hanging from a tree yet in contact with the ground in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest near Manchester, Ky.

The strange case attracted national attention when it first came to light, prompting worries that it may be a sign of increased anger toward the federal government in the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency.

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AP Exclusive: Son Sure Kentucky Census Taker Was Slain

Posted by Audiegrl

In this undated 2008 photo, Bill Sparkman speaks to a 7th grade class during a lesson about sound waves.

In this undated 2008 photo, Bill Sparkman speaks to a 7th grade class during a lesson about sound waves.


AP/Jeffrey McMurray—The son of a U.S. Census Bureau worker found hanging from a tree in eastern Kentucky with the word “fed” scrawled on his chest said Tuesday he has no doubt his father was slain.

Josh Sparkman told The Associated Press in a phone interview that he is frustrated investigators still have not ruled out suicide or accidental death.

“I look at it as disrespectful to be still throwing suicide and accident around,” he said. “He didn’t do this to himself. That’s dishonorable. My dad was a good man. No person on this planet is going to fight cancer like he did, then turn around and kill himself a year or so later.”

Bill Sparkman, 51, was a substitute teacher and part-time census worker whose body was found tied to a tree with a rope around his neck in a remote Appalachian forest earlier this month. The Clay County coroner said “fed” was written on his chest, apparently in felt tip pen. Authorities have refused to say if he was going door-to-door for census surveys before he died.

Josh Sparkman, 19, said he learned of his father’s death Sept. 13, a day after his body was found. Bill Sparkman adopted him when he was a baby.

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Bachmann Refuses To Answer Question About Dead Census Worker

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) really didn’t want to answer a reporters question this weekend at the conservative How to Take Back America Conference in St. Louis. When asked about the brutal death of cancer survivor. part-time teacher and Census worker Bill Sparkman, Bachman refused to comment.

Sparkman was found on 9/12 in rural Kentucky tied to a tree. His ducktaped body was nude, except for his socks, and the words ‘FED’ were written across his chest with a felt tip marker. His Census badge was taped to the neck and upper chest area of his body. The FBI has been investigating whether the killing was related to his job as a Census worker. Killing a federal worker on the job or because of the job is a felony.

In the past, Bachmann claimed that filling out the Census would be the first steps to being put in an internment camp by the Obama administration. She even went as far as saying that she would not fill out her own census form. She has seemed to back off of that one, since that is obviously illegal.

According to David Weigel. reporter for the conservative newspaper, The Washington Independent :

After the speech, Bachmann had only a few minutes to sign autographs and collect a stack of CDs and books from fans who’d followed her into the lobby. I caught up to her as she headed outside and asked if she had any response to the murder of a Kentucky census worker, having noticed that the Census, a constant target for Bachmann, did not figure into her speech. Bachmann recoiled a little at the question and turned to enter her limo.

“Thank you so much!” she said.

You can find our previous diary about Sparkman’s death here

Bill Sparkman Was a 51-Year-Old Single Father Pursuing Teaching Degree

Bill Sparkman Was a 51-Year-Old Single Father Pursuing Teaching Degree

***Special Note: To anyone who would like to make a wild-eyed comment stating that I am blaming this poor man’s death on Michele Bachmann. Please just stop and read what is written. I am only reporting what she has said in the past about the Census, and that she was asked the question by a conservative reporter, and that she refused to answer. That’s it, period. Full stop.

As I have stated many times, until the FBI and local authorities make a final decision about the cause and motive of his death, its all speculation.

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Breaking News—FBI: Sparkman Was Found Touching Ground, Not Hanging From Tree

Posted by Audiegrl

Bill Sparkman Was a 51-Year-Old Single Father Pursuing Teaching Degree

Bill Sparkman Was a 51-Year-Old Single Father Pursuing Teaching Degree

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.

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Area where census worker died has troubled history @ Associated Press

***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.

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