Death of Kentucky census worker considered suicide
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Kentucky State Police said yesterday that the September 12 death of census worker Bill Sparkman was suicide. His body was found naked in a Clay County, Kentucky cemetery, with "Fed" written on his chest and his census identification taped to his neck. This prompted widespread speculation that anti-government sentiment was responsible. However, police now believe that Sparkman deliberately killed himself, and tried to make it look like murder so his son could receive an insurance payout. Trooper Don Trosper, a Kentucky State Police spokesman, said, "[w]e believe this was an intentional act. We believe the aim was to take his own life."
This conclusion is based on the police's analysis of several elements of the crime scene; Sparkman was not hanged in the typical manner; his knees were less than six inches off the ground, and he could have avoided death simply by standing up before he suffocated. Captain Lisa Rudzinski, a leader of the investigation stated, "We do not believe he was placed in that position." The letters of the word "Fed" were written bottom first, which is unlikely if they had been written by an attacker. The rag found in his mouth contained only Sparkman's DNA. Police also believed he left glasses taped to his head so he could see while preparing.
Police suspect Sparkman's motives included debt, failure to find a full-time job, and a desire to provide for his son through his life insurance.
- Ian Urbina. "Census Worker’s Hanging Death Called Suicide" — The New York Times, November 24, 2009
- Bill Estep. "Census worker hanging a suicide" — McClatchy Newspapers, November 24, 2009