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

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September 24, 2009 1:48 p.m.

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.

Earlier this afternoon, a state police spokesman told Greg Sargent at the Plum Line that the AP report contained errors, and that Sparkman was “in contact with the ground” when he was found.

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