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Thread: US census worker found hanged in Kentucky with "FED" scrawled on his chest

  1. #76
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brookie View Post
    It was said on Rachel Maddow's show tonight that where he was found (and worked) is totally redneck country - total disdain for the law, meth production, marijuana growing. Such a shame - it seems that he was a really great guy.
    I was watching Rachel tonight, too. For some reason I keep thinking that the guy that found him may have had something to do with it, since he gave the cops so many details about the scene, especially about the census badge being duct taped to his body. Hell, if I find a dead body I'm not sticking around the scene long enough to be able to give you detailed information about how it looked.

  2. #77
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Here's the Rachel Maddow segment from tonight:
    [YOUTUBE]HuF0-E7Egvg[/YOUTUBE]

  3. #78
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Census Worker's Son: I'm Sure My Dad Was Slain

    JEFFREY McMURRAY | 09/29/09 05:26 PM |

    LONDON, Ky. Josh Sparkman lost the only family he ever really had when his census worker father was found hanging from a tree in rural Kentucky, his feet and hands duct-taped and the word "fed" scrawled on his chest.
    Now the 19-year-old wants answers from investigators who will not even confirm Bill Sparkman was slain more than two weeks after his body was found.

    "I look at it as disrespectful to be still throwing suicide and accident around," Josh Sparkman told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday. "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 who had received chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was found tied to a tree with a rope around his neck in a remote Appalachian forest on Sept. 12, and the Clay County coroner said "fed" was written on his chest, apparently in felt tip pen.

    The Ohio man who found Sparkman's body while visiting a cemetery said he had been gagged, his hands and feet bound. Authorities have refused to say if he was going door-to-door for census surveys before he died.

    Josh Sparkman, who was adopted by Bill Sparkman when he was a baby, said he learned of his father's death a day after his body was discovered.

    "I completely broke down," said Josh Sparkman, who is acquainted with other family members but has infrequent contact with them. "It's always just been me and my dad. It's all I have, and I don't have him anymore. I'm just kind of by myself."

    Jay Blanton, a spokesman for Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, said the governor understands Josh Sparkman's frustration but is confident state police are moving as quickly as possible.

    Kentucky State Police Maj. Lynn Cross said he has "full and complete" faith in the investigation after reviewing the case Monday with Capt. Lisa Rudzinski, commander of the detachment investigating Sparkman's death. He declined to divulge details from the briefing.

    "The son may or may not know all these things," Cross said. "I doubt that he knows a lot of stuff that the investigators know. He probably shouldn't know at this current time, but there will be a time when he will be advised of it."

    Cross said investigators are awaiting a report by the medical examiner's office.

    Josh Sparkman said police and the FBI have searched his father's home but told him little, even when the body would be released. He has advised authorities that his father wanted to be cremated and police did recently release his father's truck, which Josh Sparkman is now driving.

    He said he moved to London, Ky., before he started kindergarten so his father could get a job with the Boy Scouts. Although he had been living lately with friends in Tennessee, he spent most of his childhood in his father's small ranch home in London.

    He said he is broke now, with just $20 to his name, and doesn't know how he is going to pay for a funeral or the $600-a-month mortgage on his father's home. He has decided to move back to London and was applying for jobs Tuesday.

    Shirley Allen, Bill Sparkman's neighbor, said Josh Sparkman visited her two days after the body was found.

    "I just asked him, 'Are these rumors true that your dad is dead?'" she said. "He said, 'Yes,' but he didn't know a thing."

  4. #79
    Elite Member Moongirl's Avatar
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    "The son may or may not know all these things," Cross said. "I doubt that he knows a lot of stuff that the investigators know. He probably shouldn't know at this current time, but there will be a time when he will be advised of it."
    I sincerely hope they are just referring to the specifics of the case, and it doesn't turn out he had some kind of secret life...

  5. #80
    Elite Member Gen X EJC's Avatar
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    geez, send in the National Guard with the next batch of census takers.
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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    "I completely broke down," said Josh Sparkman, who is acquainted with other family members but has infrequent contact with them. "It's always just been me and my dad. It's all I have, and I don't have him anymore. I'm just kind of by myself."
    He said he moved to London, Ky., before he started kindergarten so his father could get a job with the Boy Scouts. Although he had been living lately with friends in Tennessee, he spent most of his childhood in his father's small ranch home in London.

    He said he is broke now, with just $20 to his name, and doesn't know how he is going to pay for a funeral or the $600-a-month mortgage on his father's home. He has decided to move back to London and was applying for jobs Tuesday.
    Oh my god. That's just awful. I hope whoever did this to his father gets the strongest punishment the law will allow. There's a very special, extremely hot place in hell reserved for that individual.

    I wonder if the community or anyone is taking up a collection or has started a fund to help the boy. I feel so bad for him.

    This is so damn sad.

  7. #82
    Elite Member Little Wombat's Avatar
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    Poor guy. I wish there was a fund I could donate to to help him out.
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  8. #83
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Wombat View Post
    Poor guy. I wish there was a fund I could donate to to help him out.
    I actually sent an email to the editor of the local paper there, asking if he knew of such a fund. He said that they are looking into it to see if there is such a fund, and that they'll be running a story on Friday about it. I'll keep an eye out for it and post it tomorrow- hopefully it will be online.

  9. #84
    Elite Member Little Wombat's Avatar
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    Thanks, Cali!
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    My friend lives in London KY. She was born and raised in New England and has lived in KY for several years. She has horror stories about how ignorant and redneck people are, including getting racist anti-Obama emails from the secretary at her son's school.

    Sparkman taught both her sons, she knows his son, and there is confusion and misinformation about what happened. No one in local law enforcement seems to be in a hurry to figure it out, either. It is disgusting.

    She says 40% of county residents are on disability but she sees them out and about all the time--and they are the ones ranting about getting the govt out of their lives.

    Needless to say, she wants desperately to move away but she can't.

  11. #86
    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    wow yeah, i knew a girl from Lexington, she told me shit too, scary shit.

  12. #87
    Elite Member Chilly Willy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoAmI View Post
    I wouldn't consider this area as being in the South, culturally speaking.
    Fine, let's call it hick-land then. For the sake of accuracy.
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  13. #88
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBDSP View Post
    My friend lives in London KY. She was born and raised in New England and has lived in KY for several years. She has horror stories about how ignorant and redneck people are, including getting racist anti-Obama emails from the secretary at her son's school.

    Sparkman taught both her sons, she knows his son, and there is confusion and misinformation about what happened. No one in local law enforcement seems to be in a hurry to figure it out, either. It is disgusting.

    She says 40% of county residents are on disability but she sees them out and about all the time--and they are the ones ranting about getting the govt out of their lives.

    Needless to say, she wants desperately to move away but she can't.
    Can you ask your friend to find out if the community has started a fund for the son? I really feel for him. It hits home I guess- my mom was in the foster care system. She lost her real mother right after high school, and couldn't pay to bury her either. She recently found a receipt from the state, where they paid $200 to have her cremated. I want to help the kid- its just too much to have to go through for a 19 yr old kid whose father was murdered, and now he's having to worry about paying for the burial and paying the house mortgage.

    And that is so disgusting about the local law enforcement. I read a comment on one of the stories where a local said that the police initially didn't treat the area where he was found as a crime scene. Apparently they just left with the body, and only went back to investigate much later. I hope that isn't true.

  14. #89
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Why police are keeping quiet on Census worker Sparkman death

    Just because Census worker Bill Sparkman was found hanging from a tree with the word 'fed' written on his chest doesn't mean he was murdered in an antigovernment act. Sparkman died in an insular county of moonshiners and pot-growers, and police are wary of taking a wrong step.

    By Patrik Jonsson | Staff writer from the October 1, 2009 edition

    Atlanta - Three weeks after part-time Census worker Bill Sparkman's body was found hung from a Kentucky tree, the word "fed" scrawled across his chest with a red felt-tip pen, law-enforcement authorities have yet to announce any leads, suspects, or potential motives.

    For a public already inundated with broken-up terror plots, antigovernment sentiment, and partisan pundits ready to use the case for their own ideological ends, the lack of any word from police has led to rampant speculation about why he died.

    Mr. Sparkman's son, Josh, can't understand why police are reluctant to call it a homicide.

    But the peculiarities of the case appear to be making it difficult for police to find a quick answer to the riddle of Sparkman's death.

    Most obviously, Kentucky police may still be unearthing clues. But it is also possible that they are taking a page straight out of a Henning Mankell police procedural: letting the mystery loosen lips in tight-knit and secretive Clay County, an old moonshiner's haunt and a prime pot-growing area currently in the midst of harvest season.

    The stakes are high, especially since FBI special agent David Beyer says cases of Census workers being killed in the line of duty are "very, very infrequent." Office of Personnel Management director John Berry says, "We will come down on these perpetrators as hell hath no fury."

    Despite the "fed" clue, many who study Kentucky's rural backroads are loath to make a direct connection between the death and current anti-government and even anti-Obama sentiments.

    "There's a combination of possible factors: marijuana, moonshine, meth, public corruption investigations, plus all the heated rhetoric about big government," says Al Cross, a former reporter who now directs the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues in Lexington, Ky.

    "Obama could have been a contributing factor or a tipping point, but I would be surprised," he adds. "There are just too many other elements in local history that indicate otherwise. For one, this would be the first killing of an outsider in Clay County."

    Investigators seem to think that something at the crime scene doesn't seem quite right.

    For example: Though Mr. Sparkman was hung from the neck and asphyxiation was the official cause of death, his feet were touching the ground when he was found.

    "We're not responding to any of the speculation, the innuendo, or the rumors that are floating around," says Don Trosper, spokesman for the Kentucky State Police, reflecting the views of Det. Donald Wilson, the lead investigator in the case. "The Kentucky State Police concerns itself with facts."

    Yet Mr. Trosper agrees that the case is "perplexing" in that police haven't been able to rule out any of the three possibilities: suicide, accidental death or homicide.

    For some observers, the lynching image, combined with a summer of Tea Parties founded on a state's rights tradition deeply rooted in the South makes it hard to rule out an antigovernment motive. With US officials reporting an uptick in homegrown radical activity, some of it violent, they say the link appears even more likely.

    "This was such a symbolic and personal anger that I'm led to lean towards someone who has severe antigovernment feelings, perhaps someone seeking revenge," domestic terrorism expert Brian Levin told CNN's "AC360."

    But it's clear that law enforcement hasn't yet endorsed the notion of Appalachian bogeymen threatening government workers. In fact, the appearance of antigovernment bias in the death could be a smokescreen to cover up what really happened, says Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox.

    Moreover, the Times-Tribune in Corbin, Ky., quoted a local law-enforcement source who urged reporters to look into the circumstances of the death of actor David Carradine, who died of apparent auto-erotic asphyxiation.

    Coworkers and a retired State Police officer who knew Sparkman say they find it difficult to believe that the mild-mannered Eagle Scout could have committed suicide or been involved in something that led to an accidental death.

    Sparkman, a 50-something substitute teacher, moved to southeast Kentucky to be a local director for the Boy Scouts of America. He recently served as a substitute teacher in Laurel County and earned extra money as a Census field worker, according to the Associated Press

    He had been a part-time Census worker since 2003 and had been working in the area on routine surveys the Census bureau conducts for various government agencies, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    One concern is that the official silence could mean that the trail has grown cold. Secrets can be well-kept among the the close-knit clans in rural parts of Appalachia, where even an outwardly harmless man like Sparkman could have been perceived as a threat, or even a Drug Enforcement Admininstration informant.

    But the silence could also be a strategy to control the investigation, says Mr. Cross of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.

    "I almost always sympathize with investigators in these circumstances," he says. "I'll go back to the [former Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld quote: 'There are known unknowns and unknown unknowns,' and any sort of information [given out] that points in one direction or another might compromise the investigation."
    Why police are keeping quiet on Census worker Sparkman death | csmonitor.com

  15. #90
    Elite Member Gen X EJC's Avatar
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    wow... so the police just decide not to follow up on it? Like I said, send in the National Guard. Let em see what big government really looks like. Urrrggghhhhhhh.
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