Census Worker Hanged: Body Not Fit for Viewing Cops Tell Mother

Photo: Bill Sparkman graduating from Western Governors University Teachers College.

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) "I was told it would be better for him to be cremated."

That's what police told Bill Sparkman's mother, Henrie Sparkman. Her son, a substitute teacher and part time census worker was hanged in Clay County, Ky. The word "fed" was scrawled into his chest, according to police.

Henrie Sparkman said investigators have given her minimal information about her son's death that took place outside of the town of Manchester, Ky., but did tell her his body was decomposed. They haven't yet released it for burial.

A law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, did not say what type of instrument was used to write the word on the chest of Sparkman, 51.

Lucindia Scurry-Johnson, assistant director of the Census Bureau's southern office in Charlotte, N.C., said law enforcement officers have told the agency the matter is "an apparent homicide" but nothing else.

The FBI is investigating whether Sparkman, 51, was a victim of anti-government sentiment.

FBI spokesman David Beyer said the bureau is assisting state police and declined to discuss any details of the crime scene. Agents are trying to determine if foul play was involved and whether it had anything to do with Sparkman's job as a census worker, Beyer said. Attacking a federal worker during or because of his federal job is a federal crime.

Henrie Sparkman said her son's death is a mystery to her.

"I have my own ideas, but I can't say them out loud. Not at this point," she said. "Right now, what I'm doing, I'm just waiting on the FBI to come to some conclusion."

She told The Associated Press her son was an Eagle Scout who moved to Kentucky to direct the local Boy Scouts of America. He later became a substitute teacher in Laurel County, adjacent to the county where his body was found.


September 24, 2009 - Census Worker Bill Sparkman Hanged in Clay County Kentucky with "Fed" Scrawled on Chest