The FBI is investigating whether anti-government sentiment led to the hanging death of a U.S. Census worker near a Kentucky cemetery. A law enforcement official told The Associated Press the word 'fed" was scrawled on the dead man's chest."Whether there was foul play involved"? What, did the guy scrawl "fed" on his own chest?
The body of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old part-time Census field worker and teacher, was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky. The Census has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Investigators are still trying to determine whether the death was a killing or a suicide, and if a killing, whether the motive was related to his government job or to anti-government sentiment. An autopsy report is pending.
Investigators have said little about the case. The law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, said Wednesday the man was found hanging from a tree and the word "fed" was written on the dead man's chest. The official did not say what type of instrument was used to write the word.
FBI spokesman David Beyer said the bureau is helping state police with the case.
"Our job is to determine if there was foul play involved — and that's part of the investigation — and if there was foul play involved, whether that is related to his employment as a census worker," said Beyer.
Anyway, hands up everybody who didn't see this one coming....
...Yeah, I thought so.
William E. Sparkman’s education story is one of thoughtful parental involvement for his son and for himself, and personal fortitude in the face of very difficult circumstances, including very serious personal illness.Bill Sparkman was a cancer survivor, a teacher, and a single parent: someone who overcame tremendous obstacles to get an education.
He thought of it as volunteering in his son’s classroom. He never imagined it would lead to a career change.
Sparkman began his career path as a sports editor for the Mulberry Press in Mulberry, Fla. and through various jobs thereafter, landed him in London, Ky., just as his son, Josh (now 18 years old) was entering Johnson Elementary School.
His son could pass any test, but was struggling with completing the required assignments, so Sparkman thought that by volunteering in the classroom, he could help his son’s learning situation.
Eventually, he was offered the job of a paraeducator. Several years into the job, he realized he was doing many of the same things that the teachers were doing. Talking with several other paraeducators, he learned they were all going to school, working on their teacher certifications.
“Being a single parent, I knew I couldn’t quit my job and I would have limited nights to go to school, so it could take a long time to finish, “said Bill. “I checked around and discovered Western Governors University, and began online classes in September 2005. WGU offered everything that I wanted. I didn’t have to sit in class and I could go as fast or as slow as I needed to.”
Bill was making great progress when a life-threatening brick wall popped up. A cyst had formed on the right side of his neck and it was found to be Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Refusing to let that get in his way, he persevered. He began the necessary medical treatment and continued to do his student teaching.
“My mentor and college advisor, Carol Williams, provided me great support through this obstacle and continued leading me down the path to graduation. Carol lives in Atlanta, Ga., but she kept in constant contact with me the majority of my two-and-a half years in online studies through phone calls and e-mails,” Bill said.
Kelly Greene, of the Laurel County School system, is in charge of filling the vacancies for any teachers who are absent on any given day, so Bill kept Kelly up-to-date on his progress throughout his treatments.
“While in the process of getting his degree, Bill was never not available,” said Greene. “He was always very upbeat that early in the morning, willing and ready to go to work.”
Sparkman spoke with Greene at length about his being diagnosed with cancer. Sparkman assured her that he wanted her to continue to call him for work.
They went over in detail what he would have to do throughout his treatment, particularly on Fridays, when he would be unable to work due to the lengthy chemotherapy treatments. Greene said Sparkman was very conscientious as a substitute teacher and did not want his treatment to hurt his chances of being called into work.
Greene described Bill Sparkman as a man with a great attitude and added that someone with his enthusiasm and willingness to work is remarkable, given the situation.
Sparkman graduated from WGU in December 2007 with his bachelor’s degree in mathematics education.
With warnings from his doctor about traveling by plane, Bill took the long way to his graduation ceremony in February 2008 by driving all the way across the country to Salt Lake City to attend graduation in person and to receive the diploma he had worked so hard to earn.
“It took me five days to make the four-day trip, thanks to Mother Nature, and the harsh road conditions in Wyoming,” Sparkman recalled. “But once I got to Utah, it was clear sailing the rest of the way.”
“WGU is the only accredited university where you can obtain a bachelors degree in education,” said Sparkman, “and as more people discover WGU, I believe that more great teachers will be there for more students and be able to provide the support everyone deserves.”
Last Friday was Sparkman’s final chemotherapy treatment. He is happy and hopeful that the treatment worked and is totally successful. He’ll get the news of his final test results on tax day, April 15.
Although he realizes that his doctor will not be able to tell him he is totally cured, Sparkman is looking forward to hearing that his cancer is in remission, enough that he’ll only have to go in for a checkup ever 6-12 months.
Today, Bill Sparkman patiently waits for a math teacher position to open as he continues to substitute teach in various schools throughout Laurel County. Along with his commitment as a substitute teacher he also works evenings at the Campground Elementary in its after-school program.
“I think things are looking pretty good as there are eight schools throughout Laurel, Knox, Whitley and Clay counties,” said Sparkman, reflecting on his future as a teacher. “Working for the U.S. Census Bureau, I’ve become familiar with the numerous opportunities the school systems have to offer. I’m hoping to stay here in Laurel County, but I’d be willing to travel to any of the other schools, if that’s where a position opens. My home, my life is here in Laurel County, and this is where I want to stay.”
Sparkman takes no personal credit for his remarkable recovery.
“I know a lot of people were out there praying for me, and I have no doubt that it was a mixture of God’s will, the doctors, and my friends and family that got me through this,” he said.
“I don’t know who played the biggest part in getting me well, but I’d be happy to bow down and kiss whoever’s feet were in front of me.”
There are no words.